Habitat and Distribution: Found in tropical rainforests of Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas, Ecuador, Peru, and northern Brazil.
Size: 20-30 inches long; 10-20 pounds
Wild Diet: Leaves, berries, twigs, and fruit; occasionally insects
Predators: Jaguars, ocelots, anacondas, harpy eagles, and humans
Lifespan: Up to 12 years
Reproduction: Two-toed sloths are ready to mate between 3-5 years of age. Females deliver a single offspring each year after a gestation of 6 months. A newborn two-toed sloth weighs about 1 pound and may nurse for up to 5 months. The baby stays on its mother’s chest and belly for up to 2 years, feeding on any leaves it can reach from that position. If separated, the baby utters a bleating call that alerts its mother.
Behavior: Two-toed sloths spend nearly their entire lives upside down: sleeping, eating, mating and giving birth in this position. They descend to the forest floor only about once a week, in order to defecate and switch trees. They are usually quiet, slow-moving and inoffensive, but can strike out with their front claws if threatened or annoyed. They sometimes grab an enemy with their foot and pull it closer to issue a bite. The main defense of two-toed sloths, however, is their wonderful camouflage. Because algae grows in their fur and they can remain motionless for a long time, they are extremely hard to detect in trees.
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Two-toed sloths are widely distributed and many live in protected areas. The survival of the two-toed sloth depends on the survival of the rainforest.
Did you know?
- Two-toed sloths are much more active than three-toed sloths and will move quite a bit from tree to tree.
- Sloths are good swimmers.