sloth


sloth

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Three-toed sloth (Bradypus tridactylus)—Des Bartlett/Bruce Coleman Ltd.

Nocturnal, solitary, tree-dwelling mammal (family Bradypodidae), found in South and Central America. About 2 ft (60 cm) long, sloths have a tiny tail, peglike teeth, long curved claws, and long forelimbs. A green alga grows in the shaggy fur. The four species of three-toed sloths, or ais (Bradypus), eat only leaves of the trumpet tree. The two species of two-toed sloths, or unaus (Choloepus), have two toes on the forelimbs; they eat fruits, stems, and leaves of various plants. Sloths cannot walk. They cling upright to trunks, hang upside down (in which position they sleep some 15 hours a day), or move, extremely slowly (hence their name), by pulling hand over hand. Their natural camouflage is their chief protection from predators.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on sloth, visit Britannica.com.

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