Hoffmann's Two-Toed Sloth

Hoffmann's Two-Toed Sloth

Northern two-toed sloth

Choloepus hoffmanni
Population size
Life Span
12-43 years
kg lbs 
cm inch 

Hoffmann's two-toed sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni ), also known as the northern two-toed sloth is a species of sloth from Central and South America. It is a solitary, largely nocturnal and arboreal animal, found in mature and secondary rainforests and deciduous forests. They are named after the German naturalist Karl Hoffmann.


Hoffmann's two-toed sloths are heavily built animals with shaggy fur and slow, deliberate movements. These sloths have only two toes on their fore feet, each ending with long, curved claws. Each of the hind feet has three clawed toes. Females in this species are larger than males. Hoffmann's two-toed sloths have a tan to light brown in colour fur. It is lighter on the face, but usually has a greenish tinge because of the presence of algae living in the hairs.




Hoffmann's two-toed sloths occur in Central and South America, separated by the Andes. One population is found from eastern Honduras in the north to western Ecuador in the south, and the other in eastern Peru, western Brazil, and northern Bolivia. They inhabit tropical forests and are found in the rainforest canopy. Hoffmann's two-toed sloths prefer trees with plentiful lianas and direct sunlight.

Hoffmann's Two-Toed Sloth habitat map

Climate zones

Hoffmann's Two-Toed Sloth habitat map
Hoffmann's Two-Toed Sloth
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Habits and Lifestyle

Hoffmann's two-toed sloths are solitary, largely nocturnal and arboreal animals. These sloths spend most of their time in trees, though they may travel on the ground to move to a new tree. They often move slowly through the canopy for about 8 hours each night and spend much of the day sleeping in tangles of lianas. These two-toed sloths move only very slowly, typically at around 0.14 m/s (0.46 ft/s), although they can move up to 50% faster when excited. They have a typical home range of about 2-4 ha (4.9-9.9 acres) and may spend most of their lives traveling between just 25 or so trees. If threatened, sloths can defend themselves. They slash out at a predator with their huge claws or bite with their sharp cheek teeth. However, the main defense of these animals is to avoid being attacked in the first place.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Hoffmann's two-toed sloths are herbivores (folivores). They feed on leaves, buds, tender twigs, young plant shoots, fruits, and flowers.

Mating Habits

during the rainy season
355-377 days
1 baby
6-9 months

Hoffmann's two-toed sloths exhibit a polygynandrous (promiscuous) mating system. This means that both males and females have multiple mates. Males leave soon after mating without taking part in raising of offspring. Breeding occurs during the rainy season. Gestation lasts between 355-377 days after which a single baby is born. Newborn sloths already have long claws and able to cling to their mothers' undersides. They begin to take solid food at 15-27 days. Young are fully weaned by 9 weeks and become independent at 6-9 months of age. Although relatively quiet as adults, young sloths make loud bleating alarm calls if separated from their mothers. Hoffmann's two-toed sloths become reproductively mature at 2-4 years of age.


Population threats

There are no major threats to Hoffmann's two-toed sloths. However, populations in Colombia and Central America, suffer from severe habitat degradation and fragmentation. They are also hunted by local communities. In Columbia, some individuals (primarily - infants) are threatened by 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.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Hoffmann's two-toed sloth total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The name "sloth" means "lazy", but their slow movements are actually an adaptation for surviving on a low-energy diet of leaves.
  • Sloths have very poor eyesight and hearing. They rely almost entirely on their senses of touch and smell to find food.
  • Two-toed sloths can survive wounds that would be fatal to other mammals their size. The sloth's slow, deliberate movements and algae-covered fur make them difficult for predators to spot from a distance.
  • The long, coarse fur of these animals protects them from sun and rain. Their fur, unlike other mammals, flows from belly to top, not top to belly. This allows rainwater to slide off the fur while the animal is hanging upside down.
  • Sloths are solitary in the wild, and, aside from mothers with young, it is unusual to find two sloths in a tree at the same time.
  • A sloth may take up to a month to completely digest a meal.

Coloring Pages


1. Hoffmann's Two-Toed Sloth on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoffmann%27s_two-toed_sloth
2. Hoffmann's Two-Toed Sloth on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/4778/47439751

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