Life can often be hectic. The whole world seems as though it is on fast forward at times, with little to no chance of slowing down. Sometimes, we just want to be able to slow down ourselves and take everything in our stride. Not all animals live life at such a fast pace though. Some, such as the sloth, lead their whole lives at a very slow pace indeed. The sloth actually gets its name for the way in which it moves so little and so slowly. It moves so slowly, that algae is able to take a hold and grow in its fur.
While their way of life may seem unusual to us, the sloth is very well adapted to life in its habitat which is the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. They are fairly common throughout their range, with most sub-species living in healthy population numbers. Sloths are so well adapted to hanging upside down from branches that this is the natural way for it to be. They feed on leaves that are low in nutrition which accounts for their low energy way of life.
Researchers have spent a lot of time learning what they can about these wonderful animals. They have been fortunate to find out some fascinating facts about them.
Sloth Fact #10: Slow Metabolism
It is well known that sloths are slow. In fact, they get their very name for the supposed sin of laziness. It’s not that they intend to be lazy, they just can’t help it as their metabolic rate is so slow that it doesn’t allow for them to move much quicker. Their metabolism is around half that of most other mammals and they also have a considerably lower body temperature. On an average day, a sloth is likely to move only around 40 yards.
Being so slow is not a benefit in itself, so sloths are this way for good reason. They feed on leaves that are not only toxic but also low in nutritional value. This, in turn, means that they need to conserve as much energy as they can because they take so little energy from their food. They may appear lazy to us, but they’re actually expending about as much energy as they are able to.