October 20 is International Sloth Day – a day to celebrate the most chilled out animal on the planet. Most people know these cute little guys for their ability to move as slowly as a teenager does getting up on a school morning, but there is a lot more to them that just that! So to celebrate International Sloth Day on Saturday, we have put together our Top 5 fascinating Sloth facts to help you learn more about these relaxed little guys;
- If you gave a Sloth a cuddle you might notice that there are some interesting things going on inside their fur. A Sloth’s fur is actually home to a large variety of algae, fungi, bacteria, moths, cockroaches and other insects which helps to camouflage the sloth in its tree tops as it gives the Sloth’s fur a green colour. Recent studies have shown that the algae and fungi in the sloth fur may in fact help in the fight against many human diseases, including the parasites that cause Malaria.
- A Sloth’s diet consists mostly of leaves, although their stomach has a hard time digesting their food. Sloths have a stomach with four sections inside it, which means that it can take almost a month for their food to be processed. This is also why they only leave their tree top homes once a week to go to the toilet!
- Sloths can hang upside down on trees to eat leaves for extremely long periods of time, how is this possible you may ask? Well it appears the answer is that a Sloth’s organs stick to their bones!! Yes, as amazingly strange as it sounds it’s true – researchers have found that Sloths internal organs actually have fibrinous adhesions that work like glue to hold their liver and stomach to their lower ribs and their kidneys to their hip bones.
- Sloths are not smelly! It is a common misconception that Sloths are smelly animals as their appearance is quite rugged and unruly, and their fur has a greenish colour to it from the algae, fungi and insects. In fact Sloths actually produce no body odour because they do not sweat, so if you were ever close enough to one to smell him all you’d smell is the smell of the trees that he was lounging around in. A strong smell would give their presence away to predators and so it’s so important that they blend in, as they are clearly not running away fast if they are found!
- Sloths are under serious threat from humans. The biggest threat to the Sloth species are deforestation, as they are unable to move as quickly as other animals may when their homes are being destroyed. They are also being killed by power lines and taken from their homes to be sold on the black market as pets.