Sloths are the small, slow-moving animals that live the most of their lives hanging lazily on a tree branch munching on the leaves and barks. I have always felt baby sloths as the coolest among all the babies in the wild. The sight of a baby sloth gripping on to its mother’s belly is indeed a sight to behold.
It is rather interesting to note that these baby sloths that weigh only around 10 ounces possess the strength to grip on tightly to their mother’s belly almost right after they are born. Also, these babies are born with furry skin and open eyes.
What amazes most people is the fact that these baby sloths are capable of climbing trees almost minutes after they are born.
These baby sloths are found to have a strong natural instinct to grip on to the bark of trees, helping them easily maneuver through the branches.
As I said earlier, being the coolest among the offspring in the forest, there are dozens of interesting facts about these baby sloths that you ought to know.
In this article, we have compiled a list of cute baby sloth facts, photos, and videos that will make you go aww! We have also answered some of the most frequently asked questions about baby sloths after consulting with professionals.
Let’s get going!
Cute and Funny Baby Sloth Videos
Less Known Facts About Baby Sloths
Baby sloths are born as a single child
If you have seen an adult sloth, you might understand how lazy they are. Their laziness actually owes to their weak digestive system that almost takes two months to digest a couple of leaves!
Owing to this, they are always low on energy and hence are always in an energy-saving mode. If you didn’t know, sloths poop only once in a week, and that itself is an arduous task to them.
So one can imagine how difficult pregnancy, delivery, and taking care of a baby would be!
Sloths have a gestation period of 11.5 months, and they give birth only one offspring a year. These baby sloths are born with furry skin, open eyes, and they weigh only around 10 ounces at the time of birth.
But that being said, it is rather interesting to note that these babies are capable of tightly gripping on to their mother’s minutes after they are born. As mentioned earlier, the babies have an innate tendency to grip tightly to their mothers.
Similarly, a baby sloth can climb trees within a few hours after its birth. They also have strong ligaments on their limbs like an adult sloth, that help them easily maneuver through the branches if needed.
A baby sloth snuggles on the mother’s chest for the first 12 months
Sloths are mammals that have adapted to a lifestyle that requires burning very low levels of calories. That is the case with the babies too, and owing to these reasons, it takes them a considerably longer duration to be adults.
For the first 12 months after their birth, they are wholly dependent on their mothers and spend most of this duration, snuggled on the mother’s chest, suckling up their milk.
When it comes to an adult sloth, storing milk is an energy-consuming process, and hence it is a luxury they cannot afford.
So instead of storing milk, a female sloth will produce it drop by drop throughout the day. This comes handy for a baby who, for the most of the first 12 months after birth, remains snuggled up on the mother’s chest.
All the babies have to do is to suckle the milk as it is produced.
Baby sloths start eating leaves when they are two months old
As said earlier, sloths are mammals that are always in an energy-saving mode, and owing to these reasons; it takes the babies almost 3 to 4 years to be independent. This is why, for the first 12 months after birth, they remain snuggled on the mother’s chest.
These baby sloths survive solely on their mother’s milk for the first two months. Sloths are herbivorous animals that acquire the required energy from mature leaves that are rich in proteins. So the milk produced my mommy sloths will also be rich in proteins while having a lower fat content.
By the end of two months, the babies will be fed leaves by their mother but not as a whole. These babies will be allowed to lick the leaves that are chewed adequately by the mother. In general, sloths have an inefficient digestive system that it takes almost a month to at least partially digest a leaf that it eats.
Which is the babies are only made to lick the leaves that have been adequately chewed by the mothers. This will give the baby’s digestive system enough time to start functioning correctly.
Baby sloths are potty trained by their mothers
Though sloths may look dirty because of the fur on their body that resembles coconut fiber, they do have bathroom manners.
But unlike most animals, pooping is an ordeal for sloths in general, and hence they do it only once a week. So is the case with the babies too.
It is rather interesting to note that the poop of a healthy sloth weighs almost one-third of its body weight. If you ever witness a sloth pooping, you can see their stomach shrinking and the struggle they face to poop.
For a sloth, pooping is the riskiest thing they have to do because that’s virtually the only time they come down from the tree they live in.
So the mommy sloth has to teach the Junior how it has to be done. A sloth actually does something called a poop dance, where they stand upright and use their prehensile tail to dig a hole in the ground.
They then poop into this hole and uses their tail to cover the hole with sand. Baby sloths that are at least two months old are given potty training by the adults.
Baby sloths are excellent swimmers
Yeah, not just the baby sloths, but sloths, in general, are excellent swimmers. In fact, they are so good at swimming that they can move in water thrice as fast as what they would do on land.
It is rather interesting to note that sloths, while being an arboreal animal, has can swim pretty good. They owe this ability to the evolutionary adaptation they have acquired over the years.
Sloths are commonly found in the tropical rain forests of south and central America where there are high chances for flash floods or rising water levels and swimming is imperative for their survival.
Owing to these reasons, sloths are born swimmers and the newborn babies can swim within a few hours after their birth. Sloths make use of their outstretched hands and leg to paddle through the water.
Since the effect of gravity is less in the water, they can easily float in water, and they can swim greater distances with ease. Swimming also comes in handy when sloths go in search of new territories of a mate.
It is also important to note that sloths can hold their breath underwater for almost 3o minutes straight. They are capable of doing this by reducing their metabolic rate and their heartbeat to 1/3rd its regular rate.
Owing to these reasons, they can swim between adjacent islands with ease.
Now that we have discussed some interesting facts about baby sloths let us discuss some frequently asked questions about them.
Frequently Asked Questions – Baby Sloths
What do we call a baby sloth?
There isn’t any special name for a baby sloth. They are called baby sloths and nothing else!
Do baby sloths drink milk?
Yeah, baby sloths do drink milk. In fact, baby sloths survive solely on their mother’s milk for the first two months.
What do baby sloths look like?
Baby sloths, in general, are small with roundish heads, tiny ears, stubby tails and the most notable among all features; their sad-looking eyes. It is interesting to note that both the two-toed and the three-toed shares similar morphological features.
The only difference between the two is that the former tends to spend more time hanging upside down like the adults and they have larger heads too. Whereas, the latter sits upright in the branches of trees.
Why are some sloths green?
Sloths are arboreal animals that spend most of their life hanging upside down on trees and munching the leaves. They are the slowest mammals on earth that they are virtually defenseless against the predators.
For sloths, the best chance of survival is on the treetops where they are out of reach from the predators. The fur of wild sloths is, in fact, brown, and most of them tend to have a greenish color.
Since they live most of their life on trees, camouflaging is their only line of defense, and when it comes to camouflaging on trees, green is the best.
These sloths are commonly found to host two types of cyanobacteria, and they mostly live on the fur of the sloth. The presence of these bacteria on its fur gives the wild sloths its unique greenish tint helping them better camouflage.
Apart from giving the green tint, cyanobacteria are an excellent source of proteins, and this explains why sloths tend to lick their fur.
Can I keep a sloth as a pet?
Yeah, you can keep a sloth as a pet if you have the required permission from the officials concerned, patience and knowledge to handle a sloth.
We also have an article on cute and funny pet sloth names that you can check out.
Though sloths look like an easy to maintain a pet, they are not. Sloths that live in captivity are vulnerable to many diseases that one can imagine, and most of these can be life-threatening too. You must have a vet who is willing to treat your sloth.
Sloths are animals that are mainly found in the tropical rain forests, which means that they need 85-plus degree F temperature and a humidity of 80%.
This is something you can’t provide them inside your home. Another hurdle when it comes to domesticating a sloth is finding the right food to feed them.
You cannot give them the random leaves that you can get your hands on. Getting hands-on the apt food for them can be painstaking and expensive because you won’t get it from your grocery shop.
Even if you are willing to go through all these troubles to bring a sloth home, we would still ask you not to. The reason being, most of the sloths that are available in the pet market are sloths whose mothers have been slaughtered.
Can a sloth kill a human?
Considering the pace at which they move, they aren’t even going to lift their and. As said in the previous section, these slow-moving species spend most of their life hanging upside down on the branches.
They aren’t going to chase you around or tear you into pieces. But they would for sure respond if you harass them.
Among the three-toed sloths and two-toed sloths, the two varieties of species that are found in the wild only the latter can land a severe bite. But that’s pretty much everything they can do. Don’t be scared of their sharp claws; sloths use those only while climbing trees!
Is it safe to touch a sloth?
It is safe for you to touch the sloth, but it might not be safe for them. Sloths, in general, do not like to be contacted. Researchers have found that sloths do not like to be handled by strangers, let alone be touched.
They go through distress when touched by strangers but are not capable of showing any signs of stress, which makes it even dangerous.
Apart from stress, the perfumes and mosquito repellents we use can have an adverse effect on sloths, especially babies. If you were to see a sloth in the wild or a zoo, the best thing to do is not to touch them.
But yeah, if you find a sloth that needs immediate attention, don’t hesitate to help them out!
Do Baby Sloths carry diseases?
No, though sloths may look dirty, they don’t carry any diseases. In fact, medical researchers have found out that the sloth’s fur contains a wide variety of fungi that can effectively counter the parasites that cause malaria, Chagas disease and some types of breast cancer found in humans.
Do Baby Sloths stink?
No, sloths don’t stink. Contrary to their shabby appearance, they are creatures with good hygiene. Apart from that, sloths do not give out body odors of any sort, neither good or bad. But the algae living on its do give it a smell of trees. This acts as an additional layer of camouflage.