Despite not being related in any way, Sloths are often considered the weird cousin of koalas, pandas or monkeys. Well buck up Mister Sloth, we love you even more because of your weird habits and lack of hygiene. Here are five reasons why you should love a sloth too.
Reason 1 - They’d never let you out of their sight
There are six different species of sloth, but generally the family is divided up into two-toed sloths and three-toed sloths. They’re slightly different in their behaviour, but what’s really interesting is that the three-toed sloth has three extra cervical vertebrae, meaning it can turn its head 270 degrees, almost all the way round. So wherever you are in a room, you can be sure a sloth would be watching you, much like Sting in that song about stalking which we won’t name.
Reason 2 - They won’t steal your food
Sloths have a very particular diet. They are folivores, meaning they mostly eat foliage like buds, tender shoots and leaves from trees in their natural Southern American habitats. This diet is very low in nutrition though, which is why they’re so slow. It’s not quite fair to call a sloth lazy, as they’re simply using their energy very effectively. Their multichambered stomachs need a lot of time to digest the tough leaves they eat, and one meal could take between a week and a month to digest. While they can be fast if threatened, they conserve their energy as much as possible.
Reason 3 - They won’t hog the bathroom
Their slow metabolism and limited food intake also has an effect on…well, their number one and two. Without getting too graphic here, sloths only go to the toilet about once a week. Well, they don’t go to the toilet, there are no toilets in the rainforests. They do, however, always do their business in the exact same spot on the ground. Why they do this isn’t really clear, but it does make them extra vulnerable to predators, as the smell leads them right to a delicious meal of slow-food.
Reason 4 - They’d never let go of your hand
Those little Muppet hands sloths have are surprisingly strong, and their claws are sharp. They’re extremely effective at keeping sloths hanging upside down from trees, much like the Velcro on the hands of those stuffed monkeys you can hang around your neck. But much, much more badass. In fact, sloths prefer to hang upside down, and do everything from sleeping to mating in this position, so their grip has to be strong. It’s so strong that they’ll often keep holding on for a while after they’re died.
Reason 5 - It has an eccentric sense of fashion
You may have seen pictures of sloths with a strange green tinge to their fur. That’s because many sloths actually grow algae within their fur. Their hairs are long and coarse, with cracks and grooves, which makes it the ideal inhabitation place for other lifeforms like algae and moths. The sloth forms a symbiotic relationship with the algae, as algae provides the sloth with camouflage, and the sloth’s fur provides the algae with water.