The Brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) is the most common of the four species of three-toed sloth. It is native to rainforest canopies of Central and South America. The slowest mammal in the world, the Brown-throated three-toed sloth is an unusual animal. The word 'sloth' means slow. And indeed, this sluggish animal is so sedentary that algae appear on its fur. Due to hanging onto branches with their long claws, they are able to consume leaves, located too high for other animals to reach. On the other hand, these long claws create difficulties as they walk on the ground. Hence, the Brown-throated three-toed sloths are mostly arboreal, living in trees.
Cathemerality, sometimes called metaturnality, is the behavior in which an organism has sporadic and random intervals of activity during the day or...
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example, foliage, for the main component of its die...
In zoology, a folivore is a herbivore that specializes in eating leaves. Mature leaves contain a high proportion of hard-to-digest cellulose, less ...
A frugivore is an animal that thrives mostly on raw fruits or succulent fruit-like produce of plants such as roots, shoots, nuts, and seeds. Approx...
Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion of animals in trees. In habitats in which trees are present, animals have evolved to move in them. Some anima...
Precocial species are those in which the young are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth or hatching. Precocial species are normall...
Browsing is a type of herbivory in which an herbivore (or, more narrowly defined, a folivore) feeds on leaves, soft shoots, or fruits of high-growi...
Scansorial animals are those that are adapted to or specialized for climbing. Many animals climb not only in tress but also in other habitats, such...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
Polygynandry is a mating system in which both males and females have multiple mating partners during a breeding season.
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
The Brown-throated sloth has grayish-brown to beige-color fur over the body, with darker brown fur on the throat, the sides of the face, and the forehead. The face is generally paler in color, with a stripe of very dark fur running beneath the eyes. The guard hairs are very coarse and stiff, and overlie a much softer layer of dense under-fur. The hairs are unusual in lacking a central medulla and have numerous microscopic cracks across their surfaces. These cracks are host to a number of commensal species of algae. The algae are generally absent in the hair of young sloths, and may also be absent in particularly old individuals, where the outer cuticle of the hair has been lost. Sloth hair also harbors a rich fungal flora. Certain strains of fungi that grow on brown-throated sloth fur have been shown to possess anti-parasitic, anti-cancer, and anti-bacterial qualities. The head of this sloth is rounded, with a blunt nose and inconspicuous ears. As with other sloths, the Brown-throated sloth has no incisor or canine teeth, and the cheek teeth are simple and peg-like. They have no gall bladder, cecum, or appendix.
These sloths occur in tropical and semi-deciduous forests as well as subtropical lowlands and swamps of South America and southern Central America (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela).
Brown-throated sloths usually have very short periods of activity between long periods of sleep. As a general rule, they sleep about 15-18 hours per day and can be active during both day and night. Adult Brown-throated sloths display solitary behavior and socialize extremely rarely: two adult sloths have never been seen together in the same tree. Fighting does not appear to occur between individuals, but they are known to protect their territories, food, and other property. During most of the day, sloths can be seen sitting in the forks of tree branches or hanging from branches in the middle layer and top of trees. They thermoregulate their bodies due to living in trees with exposure to the sun: when it gets cold, these animals exposure to the sun; during hot weather, they descend to find shelter in branches. Brown-throated sloths cannot walk and stand, hence they move onto the ground by propelling themselves with their forelegs.
In the past, these animals were believed to be monogamous, although it’s not exactly true: they are solitary and males leave soon after mating without taking part in raising offspring, suggesting that Brown-throated sloths are either polygynous or polygynandrous (promiscuous). Females give out calls in order to attract males. As a response to the call, male sloths engage in fights, and the winner mates with the female. Populations in South America mate from July to November, while these in Central America mate in February-May. The females do not construct any nests. The gestation period lasts for 5-8 months, yielding a single baby. The young sloth is completely weaned at 4-5 weeks old but remains attached to its mother for the first 5-10 months of its life. Reproductive maturity is reached at 3-5 years of age in males, and at 3 years in females.
Although there are no obvious threats to this species on the whole, some subpopulations in Colombia and the Atlantic Forest (Brazil) greatly suffer from deforestation, which causes degradation and fragmentation of their natural habitat. In some parts of their range, the Brown-throated sloths are hunted by local indigenous people. In Columbia, some individuals (primarily - infants) are threatened by the illegal pet trade, being caught and sold as pets to tourists. This leads to population decline and poses a serious danger to this species in the wild.
According to IUCN, the Brown-throated sloth is widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. These animals are classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.