Fun Three-toed Sloth Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 11, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Three-toed sloth facts are entertaining to learn.

Three-toed sloths are famous for being one of the world's slowest moving mammals! Although related to the two-toed sloth, they are actually quite different in many aspects.

There are four species of the three-toed sloth (Bradypus), all of which vary in terms of size, gestation period, and physical characteristics. The four species are maned sloth (Bradypus torquatus), brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus), pale-throated sloth (Bradypus tridactylus), and the pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus).

These animals are mostly found in Central and South America. They are specifically found in the countries of South America in Panama, Brazil, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname.

Sloths have many unique adaptations which allow it to survive and thrive even though it is quite slow. The ongoing destruction of their natural habitat related to human encroachment is causing a threat to their survival.

If you liked this article with amazing three-toed sloth facts, check out other articles about the leopard seal and the fennec fox.

Three-Toed Sloth Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Three-Toed Sloth?

The three-toed sloth is a type of arboreal animal which means it is well adapted to hanging on to or living on a tree.

What class of animal does a Three-Toed Sloth belong to?

The three-toed sloth is an animal that belongs to the class Mammalia.

How many Three-Toed Sloths are there in the world?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN in 2012 study calculated that there are 79 pygmy three-toed sloths left. The International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN has also noted that the population of the maned three-toed sloths is decreasing. The exact population of brown-throated and pale-throated sloths has not been calculated yet.

Where does a Three-Toed Sloth live?

The four species of the three-toed sloth live in the tropical and neo-tropical rainforests of Central and South America.

What is a Three-Toed Sloth's habitat?

A three-toed sloth's usual habitat is in the tropical rain forests. Sloths like to live at the very top of the canopy of the huge trees as it allows them to camouflage.

Who do Three-Toed Sloths live with?

Sloths are actually quite solitary animals. They prefer to live alone on their own rather than living together in packs in a forest. Male sloths are usually very shy and keep to themselves while the female sloths may get together from time to time.

How long does a Three-Toed Sloth live?

The members of the three-toed sloth genus have an average lifespan of 25-30 years.

How do they reproduce?

Three-toed sloths do not have a proper breeding season during which they reproduce. These animals can breed throughout the year however, they reproduce at the same pace as they move - extremely slow!

Female three-toed sloths reach sexual maturity at the age of three while the males reach maturity around four to five years of age. They typically look for a mate and the males start courting when female sloths let out a shrill, monotone sound to imply that she is ready.

The gestation period differs for each species and the pale-throated sloth has a gestation period of five to six months.

All the female sloths only give birth to one baby at a time. Three-toed sloths even give birth while hanging upside down from the tree!

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN, the pygmy three-toed sloth is on the Red List as its population is decreasing. The maned three-toed sloth is also in the vulnerable category as its population is also seen to be decreasing.

However, the brown-throated sloth and pale-throated three-toed sloth are listed in the Least Concern category as their population status is unknown.

Three-Toed Sloth Fun Facts

What do Three-Toed Sloths look like?

Facts about three-toed sloths are fascinating.

Sloths have long limbs, curved claws, and a stumpy, short tail. Their head is quite small and has small ears which cannot be seen normally.

Depending on the species, they have different types of colored fur such as gray, white or brown. They use their claws to eat leaves and hang on the branches of the trees. Their fur is not very long.

How cute are they?

Three-toed sloths are extremely cute! With their brown, grey fur, curved claws, small faces, and long arms, these animals always look like they have a big smile on their faces. Even the fact that they move so slow makes them quite endearing.

How do they communicate?

Although three-toed sloths grow into solitary animals in the wild, they still communicate with each other through the medium of sound. They make a peculiar sound that helps them reach out to others of their kind.

Baby sloths make a bleating sound when they are separated from their parent. They may also make a high-pitched squeaking sound that helps the parent understand if the baby is in any danger.

How big is a Three-Toed Sloth?

The length of a three-toed sloth is between 23-27 in (58-68 cm). Three-toed sloths have shorter tails 2.3 - 2.75 in (6-7cm) as compared to a two-toed sloth. An Antarctic Blue Whale is almost five times the size of a three-toed sloth.

How fast can a Three-Toed Sloth move?

Three-toed sloths are very slow and can only travel 0.15 miles in a day. They move through the canopy in the wildlife at a rate of about 40 yards each day.

How much does a Three-Toed Sloth weigh?

Depending on the type of the species, a three-toed sloth normally weighs between 4.8 - 22 lb (2.2kg - 10kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Sloths, whether it is a two-toed sloth or a three-toed sloth, do not have separate names for the male and female types of their species. So they are denoted as males and females.

What would you call a baby Three-Toed Sloth?

A baby three-toed sloth is called a cub.

What do they eat?

Although two-toed sloths are omnivorous, three-toed sloths are mostly herbivorous and have a leafy diet consisting of plants and leaves. They find these leaves in the trees that they hang from. Many scientists think that their diet of only leaves is insufficient and not nutritious enough.

Are they dangerous?

While three-toed sloths are not exactly aggressive or dangerous, they may still cause some harm to humans. The two-toed sloth is quite aggressive to human beings but three-toed sloths also carry the same sharp claws which can cause quite the scratch.

Three-toed sloths also do not like unnecessary human contact and can get quite uncomfortable when human beings touch them. In addition to that, three-toed sloths have a strong olfactory sense.

Therefore, they can easily smell even the subtle scents of lotion or perfume that humans wear. This can further disorient them and lead them to attack.

Would they make a good pet?

While Sloths are extremely cute, they would not make a good pet. Firstly, they are not suited to the domesticated environment that most pets are comfortable in.

They need a proper forest to thrive in and eat. Secondly, it has a restricted diet that does not allow it to live anywhere except for a forest.

Thirdly, it is very shy and does not like human contact at all. Consequently, it is better to leave the three-toed sloth in the wild in the forests where it prefers hanging from the trees!

Did you know...

Sloths have a unique habit that helps them be safe from predators in the wild. Since they are excessively slow and cannot move very fast to defend themselves from predators - they rarely leave the tree that they are hanging from and come to the ground.

They come down to the ground once a week to defecate and urinate after which they go back up again. While it sounds funny, the entire act of slowly going to the ground can be quite dangerous for the animal.

Why is the pygmy three-toed sloth endangered?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has categorized the pygmy three-toed sloths to be endangered.

This species of sloth is endangered due to the deforestation and destruction of its habitat in the wild, the presence of feral cats in the forests, and lack of sufficient legal protection for this sloth has led to a sharp decrease in its population.

Conservation of these sloths has become very important.

How many three-toed sloths are left?

A 2012 study by the IUCN estimated that only 79 pygmy three-toed sloths are left in the wild. As for the other species, the data is deficient but they are not endangered or at risk of extinction. Therefore, conservation techniques are being used to restore their population in the wildlife.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including the anteater and the pygmy slow loris.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Three-Toed Sloth coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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