What Are Some Interesting Facts About the Three-Toed Sloth?


Quick Answer

Three-toed sloths are mammals that live in South and Central America. They weigh 8 to 10 pounds and have an extra vertebrae in their necks that allows them to turn their heads a full 270 degrees. They also have a distinctive, high-pitched "ah-eeeee" cry that two-toed sloths do not emit.

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Full Answer

Three-toed sloths differ from their two-toed sloth counterparts by having three fingers and a tail ranging from 2 to 3 inches in length. Because they cannot walk on all fours, three-toed sloths must use their front limbs and claws to drag themselves across the ground, a fact which makes them the slowest-moving animals on land. Unlike their two-toed counterparts, however, three-toed sloths are deft swimmers who often drop directly from tree branches into rivers.

Like two-toed sloths, three-toed sloths spend 15 to 20 hours per day sleeping. Their sedentary positions allow algae to grow on them. The greenish tint of the algae helps to camouflage them from predators while they are asleep. Three-toed sloths also mate and deliver their young while hanging from trees and continue to hold and feed their offspring for nine months after their births.

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