International Sloth Day was founded in 2010 by a non-governmental organization in Colombia and since then it has been regularly commemorated on October 20. Most zoos that keep sloths also aim for this day. In the form of lectures and guided tours, visitors will get a closer look at the life and breeding conditions of these rare animals.
The sloth is a solitary creature that lives a slow life and occupies only a small territory of about 0.05 km2. It prefers trees with many lianas and branches illuminated by direct sunlight. Usually, only one animal is found on one tree, and only the female lives with her offspring. Occasionally, males can be seen fighting and attacking each other with their claws.
Interesting facts about sloths:
- Unlike most mammals, sloths have a different number of neck vertebrae. The Bradypus genus has nine, while the Choloepus genus has six neck vertebrae. Additionally, sloths do not have a blind gut or a gallbladder. Up to two-thirds of a sloth's weight can be food in its digestive tract.
- Sloths are capable of surviving injuries that would kill other animals of the same size.
- The English name for the Hoffmann's two-toed sloth is named after the German naturalist Karl Hoffmann (1823-1859). The English word "sloth" means lazy.
In addition to algae, the sloth's fur is home to other species, such as the female moth Cryptoses choloepi, which lives in its fur and lays eggs in its droppings. The yellow-crowned manakin bird has also been observed searching for small invertebrates in the sloth's fur.
Both the brown-throated and Hoffmann's two-toed sloths are considered endangered species. They are primarily threatened by the loss of their natural habitat. Most sloth deaths in Costa Rica are caused by encounters with high-voltage wires or poachers.
Sloths, together with anteaters and armadillos, belong to the Xenarthra group, which appeared in South America 60 million years ago. However, it quickly diversified into a wide range of forms that inhabited all biotopes. Some ground sloths reached the size of an elephant.