Sloths are adorable. There’s no point in arguing with me on this, and if you need to know just how adorable they are, check out the hilarious reaction from Kristen Bell the day her husband invited a sloth to her birthday party.
Seriously, watch that. I’ll wait.
Okay. So, if you love sloths even a fraction of how much Kristen Bell loves sloths, you’ll be fascinated by the 7 facts below!
#7. Some can rotate their heads 270 degrees.
Three-toed sloths have this downright creepy ability thanks to their bone structure, which includes extra vertebrae at the base of their necks to allow looking for danger in all directions.
#6. All sloths have 3 toes (yes, even Two-Toed Sloths).
All kinds of sloths have three toes on each “foot,” but some have two claws on their forepaws while others have three.
#5. Their “laziness” is a survival tactic.
A sloth’s reaction time is about a quarter as fast as a human’s – they can climb about 6-8 feet per minute. Actually, they are the considered the slowest animals on earth (slower than turtles and snails).
The reason? Sloths eat mainly leaves, which aren’t very nutritious and can take the sloth’s 4-part stomach up to a month to digest. If they went faster, they would burn energy too quickly. As a bonus, their slowness actually means predators often overlook them.
#4. They’re related to the extinct Giant Ground Sloth.
Modern sloths evolved from the same family tree as the giant ground sloths, the largest of which stood over 12 feet tall. The giant animal went extinct about 10,000 years ago due to hunting by early humans.
#3. Algae grows on their fur.
Their relationship with algae is symbiotic; studies show that algae can even be passed down from a mother to her baby. Sloths’ fur is a good, safe home for the algae, and the sloths get a free coat of camouflage – and a nutrient rich snack for on the go.
#2. They almost never leave the trees.
Sloths eat, sleep, mate, and birth babies (hanging upside down) in the trees. Their internal organs are anchored to their abdomen, which makes the last feat possible, and their three-inch claws help them latch securely to branches.
Their grip is so strong that dead sloths have been found dangling from limbs.
#1. Except to poop. (Enormous poops).
Sloths only poop about once a week, though they can go up to a month. When they’re ready, they head to the forest floor, dig a hole, and do their business inside. Scientists find the practice strange, since about half of sloth deaths occur while they’re on the ground to poo, and figure not wanting to poop up high must have something to do with mating.
Their poops are huge, sometimes weighing up to a third of the animals’ body weight – 282% larger than would be expected considering their size.
I know who’s getting an invited to my next birthday soiree!