This exhibit is made possible through the Friends of the Louisville Zoo and other generous donors.
About Linnaeus’s Two-Toed Sloths
This arboreal mammal hails from the South America forest canopy. Sloths are nocturnal, solitary and known for their slow movements as well as their tendency to hang upside down in trees. In fact, these sloths eat, sleep, mate and even give birth in this position!
Although commonly referred to as two-toed sloths, did you know that all sloths actually have three toes on their hind legs? The fingers on their front limbs are what differs between species; some sloths have three fingers and some have two!
Two-toed sloths are also a bit larger, reaching 31 inches in length and weighing up to 24 pounds. They have long, brown hair which will stand on edge when they feel threatened. The shape of these hairs allows for the growth of algae and fungi by trapping moisture. This growth can make the sloths appear green which helps to camouflage them in the rain forest canopy.
Sloths enjoy a diet of mostly leaves but will also eat flowers and fruit. Due to their slow metabolism, two-toed sloths have one of the slowest digestive rates for any mammal. Research shows it takes approximately 30 days for them to fully digest what they eat.
The sloth’s natural predators are big cats, snakes and eagles — but their largest threat is loss of habitat due to the rapidly expanding human population.