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WHAT IS THE SLOTH?


The Sloth has long gray or brown hair that blends in well with the surrounding environment, making it difficult for predators, such as the jaguar, to see them. This hair curves in the opposite direction of most other mammals: from the stomach to the back. Their hair is often covered with a coat of blue-green algae during the rainy season. This algae provides camouflage. They grow to a length of between one and a half and two and a half feet (in about 2 1/2 years).



Their ancestor, the Giant Ground Sloth, which lived before the last ice age, reached the size of the modern elephant. The Sloth eats leaves and buds. The two-toed species also eat twigs, fruits, and small prey. Their low rate of metabolism enables them to live on relatively little food. They do not have incisors and crop leaves with their hard lips. Their teeth grow continuously, as they are worn down by the grinding of their food. They don't drink but get their water from eating juicy leaves & licking dewdrops.














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They can defend themselves with sharp claws, but their main form of protection is their camouflage. Predators, beside people, include large snakes, harpy and other birds. Also, jaguars and ocelots are a danger when the sloth is on the ground. On the ground it moves extremely slowly. Surprisingly, sloths are good swimmers. The probable maximun Sloth lifespan is between 30 and 40 years. Some sloths in zoos have reached these ages.

 

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