What is the laziest and slowest animal in the world? Most people would have the same answer, which is a sloth. This animal spends most of its time on trees! Still, what do sloths eat?
This sluggish creature is both cute and interesting. They belong to a mammal class and live in tropical habitats, including South and Central America. Their favorite place to live is indeed trees.
Having long claws, sloths can hang onto branches and climb easily. On the other hand, they have difficulties to move on grounds. It is said there are several (6) species of sloth out there!
In the ancient age, sloths are enormous! In recent days, their size is small and can live about 30 years. Despite the difference in species, sloths have similar favorite foods, which would be discussed later.
Sloths’ Favorite Foods
The most common species is called the two-toed sloths. Due to their omnivorous behavior, they can eat both animals and plants. Their favorites are small lizards, leaves, insects, and various types of fruits.
Another famous species is called three-toed sloths! This one is herbivorous, so they only eat plants. They are fond of buds and leaves of different species of trees. Even they would eat Cecropia tree’s leaves!
As for herbivorous sloths, they have no problems in digesting leaves and buds. Thanks to their multi-chambered stomachs. These chambers consist of bacteria that can digest and break down those materials easily.
Indeed, sloths eat slowly. However, they even digest foods more slowly! According to experts, sloths may take up 30 days to digest a meal. No wonder, they become a representation of the word ‘slow’.
There is also an analysis regarding their slow or sluggish lifestyle. It is said the reason is their diet. Leaves are considered lacking in nutrients and cannot provide much energy. As a result, sloths will not move swiftly.
Aside from leaves and plants, sloths hunt insects sometimes. Their favorites are eggs and caterpillars. In some occasions, they may eat fruit flies!
So, do baby or small sloths have the same foods as adults? After the babies are born, they would cling to their mother. They will not be in a hurry to leave her.
Simply said, the babies depend on their mother when it comes to foods. Once they grow older and bigger, they would be able to find foods independently.
The most common age to leave the mother is around 6 months. However, they will not leave her completely. At the first time, they still hang around the mother for about two years.
Here is an interesting fact. The babies often fall off their mother’s belly. Still, they will not get hurt when hitting the ground. It is because they have a sturdy body. Not to mention they can swim!
How They Hunt and Eating Behavior
The first thing to notice is their habit to eat foods on trees. It is called treetop dining! This arboreal lifestyle is indeed unique! Despite the fact, they have limited choices of foods due to their habit.
Finding food as the slowest animal in the world is not easy. Therefore, sloths rarely hunt insects or moving prey. Instead, they eat any plants that reside near them.
Sloths spend most of their days sleeping and they look for foods at nights. This habit causes a problem, though. It is because they cannot see well in the dark when looking for foods.
Moreover, their hearing and sight are poor. On the other hand, they can find foods efficiently by taking advantage of their touch and smell sense.
So, what about their digestive system? According to experts, the metabolism of this animal is lacking! They cannot even regular body temperature!
As mentioned earlier, sloths take much time when it comes to digesting foods. Therefore, they take advantage of juicy leaves and fruits to hydrate themselves.
It takes much time to digest foods and make a bowel movement. That means sloths would poop in a long integral manner. They do not do it often. When they do, they would go down and poop on the ground.
Does this peaceful and slow animal have enemies or predators? Fortunately, their slow movements are their best defense mechanism. This makes them go unnoticed by enemies.
Jaguars, eagles, ocelots, and other predators hunt using their sights. They aim for sudden or quick movements. That means sloths can move safely due to their slowness.
Being known as the slowest animal in the world, sloths become an interesting creature to learn. Many people start studying this animal’s way of living and eating behavior these days.
Their slow movement gives them many advantages, including surviving from predators’ threats. Still, their laziness often causes some problems. For instance, they spend most of their time sleeping at days!
Once eating lots of leaves, fruits, and insects, they can stay peacefully at trees (either mating or taking care of babies). Moreover, aside from being known as a great climber, they can swim fast as well!
So, what do sloths eat? Commonly, they only eat leaves of various trees and fruits. However, some species also eat insects like caterpillars. They rarely drink water, though. Instead, they eat fruits and juicy leaves.