Sloths spend the majority of their lives upside down, in the trees. These unusual animals eat, sleep, mate and give birth from their position high among the branches in the rainforest.
Sloths are the only mammal with hair that grows in the opposite direction than other animals. This allows rain water to run off the body when hanging upside down. The hair of the sloth is also unusual as it collects algae. The algae gives the sloth a greenish tint which helps them camouflage in their treetop home.
These solitary animals have a low metabolic rate which allows them to survive on little or poor quality food. Due to this, a sloth only comes to the ground once a week to go to the toilet.
Belfast Zoo is home to two Linne’s two toed sloths, named Enrique and Natja.
Diet - Omnivore
Linne’s two toed sloths eat insects, buds, leaves, tender shoots, carrion and small prey.
The Linne’s two toed sloth can be up to 70 centimetres long and can weigh up to nine kilograms.
Linne’s two toed sloths are found in forest canopies, from coast to mountain, in South America.
The IUCN has determined that the Linne’s two toed sloth is not currently in danger of extinction, in the wild.
Habitat destruction and climate change are the main threats facing the sloth. They are also threatened by hunting. They are hunted for food, their claws are used to make necklaces and their fur is used to produce saddlecloths.
There are no exact numbers for Linne’s two toed sloth in the wild. They are common in their current habitat.
Linne’s two toed sloths are managed under an ESB. There are nearly 400 Linne’s two toed sloths in zoos worldwide.