What do sloths eat?
Sloths are mammals that live in the rainforests of South America.
They spend almost their entire lives hanging upside down in trees, which is why they are sometimes called “tree sloths.”
Sloth species include the brown-throated three-toed sloth and Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth, along with many others.
The average lifespan for a sloth is about 30 years in the wild and 40 years in captivity.
The two-toed sloth has been known to live as long as 50 years in the wild and can adapt to captivity if it is done well.
What Sloths Eat
Sloths eat leaves and shoots from trees in the rainforest.
Their favorite tree is the cecropia, which bears flowers and fruit that are a delicacy to the sloth’s vegetarian diet.
Sloths do not chew food very well, so they need calcium and other minerals in order to break down some of their food more than others.
They will lick these small stones and lick fluoride-rich soil when they need these minerals.
How Do Sloths Eat?
Sloths’ stomachs can only handle food broken down into small pieces by animals with multi-chambered stomachs, like cattle or deer.
They cannot digest larger pieces of leaves that other animals could eat.
They then release the partially-digested food from their stomachs as droppings, which other animals can eat.
Sloths regurgitate their food and eat it again if they do not get a chance to expel it in time.
Sloths usually eat one large meal each week.
Since sloths spend their time hanging upside down in trees, it can be difficult for them to get food.
They have special adaptations that allow them to eat while upside-down.
Their long arms and curved claws allow them to grab food out of reach.
Their long, hook-like tongues, on the other hand, help them eat the leaves off the sides of trees.
When they need to drink water, they will bend their heads all the way back over their shoulders so that they can sip it from small pools on the rainforest floor.
Sloths also eat soil and small stones, which help them digest their food.
However, during dry seasons when food is scarce, they can go long periods of time without eating anything.
The slow metabolism of a sloth allows them to go for weeks without food or water, but large periods without either can be fatal.
What Do Sloths Do After Eating?
Sloths stay in their trees all day and sleep at night, only coming down to the bottom of the tree to relieve themselves before going back up to sleep again.
They use their long claws to dig holes in the ground where they defecate, which provides fertilizer for the trees that feed them.
Sloths can go as long as a month between bowel movements.
Sloths only come down from the trees to move into or out of their territory.
Normally, they mark their territories with urine and scent glands that produce chemicals called pheromones.
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