Sloths have been around for 28 million years. Over this long period of time, these lovely fellows have endured quite a few changes to their environment. And yet our tree-dwelling friends keep going forward, always at their own pace. While the world around them continues to change quite significantly, sloths have always found a way to keep up with whatever nature throws at them. Slowly but surely, they have successfully made it quite far. Ever wondered how it all happened? Slothino brings you some interesting facts about how the sloth has adapted to the changes around it.
Always Moving at Their Own Pace
Being slow is part of the sloth’s identity, starting with its name. But it has also helped these little creatures survive in their environment. As you might already know it (read here about sloth facts), sloths spend most of their lives hanging from trees. That’s largely because of their slow metabolism. How slow are we talking? Three-toed sloths have the slowest metabolism among all mammals, while two-toed sloths have the third slowest. The only one separating them is the giant panda. Because of this, living atop trees is the best possible option.
Since sloths are incredibly slow, moving at an average of 41 yards a day, that makes them an easy target for predators. And this is the rainforest we are talking about, which has some fast predators such as jaguars and eagles. While sloths become an easy target near the ground level, it can stay away from their predators’ eyes near the top of tall trees.
Sloths have curved limbs that make it easier to hang from tree branches, but also make it extremely difficult to move on the ground. On rare occasions, their thick and sharp claws also work well for self-defense. This way, they can spend most of their time moving between trees, and rarely go down to the ground level – unless they need to evacuate or to wash themselves (surprisingly, sloths are actually very good swimmers). Now why exactly do they need to go all the way down to do their necessities? Well, that’s a very good question with no proper answer.
Slow and Steady Does Win the Race
Not only are sloths incredibly slow, but they also sleep an average of 15 hours a day. In other words, let’s just say that their metabolism doesn’t make them particularly well-suited to run away from predators. But, believe it or not, being so slow is actually quite helpful. Sloths spend most of their time atop trees, away from the eye of their predators.
However, predators also have their own tools to spot potential prey. Even the tiniest movement can alert predators, and some of them are actually quite skilled at climbing up trees. Since sloths rarely move, it also means that predators have a hard time spotting them. Living life at their own pace really pays off in these situations.
But that’s not the only way sloths have adapted to stay away from the eyes of predators. Their fur matches the color of tree branches and leaves, which is also extremely helpful. Sloths can also turn their heads 270 degrees, making it easier to spot potential threats from far away.
Their slow metabolism is also quite helpful. Sloths only need about 100 calories a day and their diet consists mostly of tree leaves, which means that they don’t even need to move around that much to look for food.
Sloths’ fur not only helps with camouflage, but also works as the perfect coating for the heavy downpours, as it dries off relatively fast. Here is a fun fact: their fur could actually be considered a small ecosystem in its own right. Green algae often grow on the sloths’ fur, which also helps with camouflage. Sloth moths that feed on algae and on skin secretions also make their home on the fur. Of course, none of this seems to actually bother the sloths.
How Have Other Animals Adapted to the Rainforest?
Obviously, sloths do not live by themselves in the rainforest, which houses some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Plenty of small animals, such as reptiles and amphibians, have also found their home among these trees. Some of them rely on strong toxins to keep predators away. Their skins are very colorful, which usually works as a warning sign in the wild.
Other small mammals, such as monkeys, have also found ways to stay away from their predators by living on top of trees. Just like the sloth, these animals have developed strong limbs to help them hang and jump from one tree branch to another.
Speaking of predators, these fearsome animals have also adapted well to this environment. Felines such as the jaguar have developed strong claws that help them climb up trees to hunt for food. These animals are also very good swimmers, which makes a lot of sense considering that large areas of these forests usually end up submerged during the rain season.
Curious to learn more about sloths and other fun facts about the rainforest? Make sure to check the Slothino blog between playing sessions. As an eco-conscious brand, we are always trying to raise awareness about the environment. Come hang around with us and embrace your inner Slothino. Game at your own pace and remember that slow and steady wins the race. Stay a while, Play a while!
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