Panama's Three-toed Sloths Not as “Slow” as They Seem

January 26, 2012
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Birds, amphibians and reptiles are all exciting aspects of nature travel, but larger mammals like the three-toed sloth make for an especially memorable sight, especially for families traveling with children.

However, the three-toed sloth, which can be seen in the rain forests on a Panama tour or aboard an Amazon River cruise, is not only interesting to amateur nature explorers. The sloth is unique in that it cannot regulate its own body temperature, restricting its range to hot, humid habitats, according to the World Wildlife Fund. This characteristic has caused the sloth to become endangered and in need of protection.

In addition, despite its reputation as the world's slowest mammal, this sloth has plenty of interesting habits and traits that show its ability to adapt to its environment. For instance, its slow speed causes it to grow algae in its fuzzy coat, which helps it to blend into the canopy of the rain forest where it spends most of its time - in fact, they even mate and give birth while hanging in trees, according to National Geographic.

The three "toes" for which this sloth gets its name are also an interesting study of Darwin's theory - these strong claws give them a powerful grip that supports their hanging habits.


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