Q:

What do three-toed sloths eat?

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Quick Answer

Three-toed sloths eat leaves, shoots and fruit from the trees they live in, and in some cases will also eat small rodents or insects. Their diet lacks nutrition, and they get very little energy from it. It's speculated that sloths move so slowly for this reason. Three-toed sloths digest their food with the bacteria in their stomachs, which have four chambers, and the digestive process for one meal can take as long as one month.

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Full Answer

Sloths spend the vast majority of their lives eating or sleeping. They live in trees, and they rarely descend to the ground. Sloths only leave their tree homes to make waste and to swim in water. Nearly all of their water-intake requirements come directly from plant matter. Sloths have very strong claws, which they use to climb and to hold onto branches while sleeping. Sloths have been known to sleep for as much as 20 hours per day.

Sloths are essentially powerless on the land. Because they are so slow, they're an easy target for predators. Biting and clawing are the sloth's main defense mechanisms when attacked. Sloths are very weak creatures, with only 25 percent of their body being muscle. If a sloth gets too cold, it's unable to digest food. This can cause death by starvation if the young sloth is still nursing at the time.

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