|There can be as many sloths as eight per hectare, which is an extremely high density for such a large, solitary mammal.||Sloths are some of the most arboreal of mammals, spending almost their entire lives in the trees. There are five species total of the "three-toed" and "two-toed" sloths, all inhabiting the tropical forests of Central and South America. Sloths are very hard to see, simply because they move so rarely, and when they do move it is very slowly indeed -- they have been known to take as long as a day in the process of moving from one tree to the next.|
A mother sloth and a baby hang upside-down in a tree. Photo courtesy Naomi Woods.
|The slothís adaptations for life in the forest canopy have only been recently studied. Sloths are almost incapable of moving, or even standing on the ground. They canít stand upright because their feet are essentially large hooks: their toes have long, curved claws which are perfect for hanging from tree branches, but are useless for standing on. In their forest habitat, however, their hook-like claws provide a far more reliable grip on tree branches than the grasp of a normal "fist".|
[tropical rainforests] [arboreal adaptations]
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