Linnaeus’ Two-toed Sloth
Range: Central and South America
Habitat: Hot humid tropical forests
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Scientific Name: Choloepus didactylus
All sloths have 3 claws on their hind limbs. Two-toed and three-toed sloths were formerly placed in the same family but the two genera have profound behavioral and anatomical differences and are believed to come from two different fossil lineages. They are now placed in separate families. 2-toed is larger, faster, and nocturnal. Diet is more varied – eats leaves and fruit. 6 or 7 neck vertebrae and vestigial tail. A 3-toed is smaller, slower and both diurnal and nocturnal. Highly specialized browsers – eat only leaves. 8 or 9 neck vertebrae. Stout tail is 68 mm (2.7 in ) long. Sloths are more closely related to anteaters than armadillos. Large difference in chromosomes (number and characteristics) within Choloepus may mean there are even more than 2 species of two-toed sloths. They cannot shiver to keep warm as other mammals do because of the unusually low metabolic rates and reduced musculature. They have the lowest muscle mass relative to overall body weight of any mammal. Sleep 15 to 18 hours per day. Approximately 6 hours each day are spent foraging. Most two-toed sloths change to a different tree each night.Passage of food through gut takes 6-21 days, this usually takes only hours for other herbivores.
Scovill Zoo’s sloth, Eden, was born November 2008 at Cleveland Metropark Zoo. She moved to Cincinnati Zoo in 2010 and arrived at Scovill Zoo in May 2012.