About the Sloth

Although Turkey is a country very rich in terms of biodiversity are also animal species living in our country. We can find some of these animals in zoos. Millet arrived in 2015 we encounter an animal in any zoo in Turkey earlier in the Zoo. The name of this creature is a sloth. Well, would you like to know why sloths are so named?

Sloth animals, which travel an average of 35-40 meters a day, are named in different languages because they move very slowly. In fact, this expression is not used for a single species. There are a total of six different species of sloths, divided into two groups, two-toed and three-toed. Sloths with an average height of 60 cm live in tropical forests in Central and South America.

Sloths move at night and sleep during the day so as not to prey on felines and raptors. However, this is not the case for all sloths. For example, one of the three-toed sloths, the dwarf sloths (Bradypus pygmaeus), unlike the others, can be on the move at any time of the day. Because there are no predators on Escudo de Veraguas Island, where dwarf sloths live. Therefore, since they do not face the threat of predators, they can sleep any time they want.

Research conducted supports this information. For example, scientists compared the sleeping hours of sloths that have adapted to wild life and lazy animals living in the laboratory, and found that laboratory animals that do not face the danger of predators sleep 15 hours, and animals living in the wild 9 hours.

Scientists think it is very interesting how sloths have not gone extinct so far.

In order for these slow friends to survive, first of all, they should not be predators. So how can sloth animals be protected from these predators, while a monkey that lives in trees and can move very fast can be the prey of eagles?

Recent research shows that the anatomical features of sloths help them use their energy efficiently. Sloths have long arms and short shoulder blades. In this way, sloths that can hang upside down on trees can turn and move more easily.

Sloths have a very low metabolic rate. The main food source of these creatures is cellulose. Thanks to the fact that their stomach consists of many parts, they can digest the cellulose in the food they consume. Sloths take a very long time to digest. In this way, they can digest any nutrients they consume without wasting them.

Sloths, who spend most of their time on trees, pour their droppings on the ground. Scientists have had a hard time understanding why sloths, who use their energy so economically, come out of the tree to defecate. Also, sloths landing on the ground makes it easier for them to be caught by predators. Because research shows that half of the sloth deaths are due to predators on the ground.

It is thought that sloths’ dropping their feces on the ground may be related to their ability to communicate with other sloths in the environment and to find mates through scent. Recent research shows that this may be closely related to nutrition.

Moths live in the fur of sloths. Moths provide food to the larvae by laying their eggs on the sloth’s feces. When the larvae become moths again, they fly into the fur of the sloths on the treetops and find a house and a mate. So, what is the payoff of the sloth from this situation? It was determined that there is a relationship between the number of moths and algae and the amount of nitrogen between sloths’ hair. The nitrogen released as a result of the destruction of the dead moths in the fur of sloths by fungi may increase the amount of algae. As the number of algae in sloths’ fur increases, they can camouflage better.

New research shows that sloths can also use algae as a food source. Containing a large amount of digestible fat, algae can be a productive energy source for sloths.

So, do humans affect the lives of sloths? Studies show that human activities are damaging the habitats of sloths. For example, in recent years, people have begun to settle on the island where dwarf sloths live. Damage to forests as a result of man-made activities left sloths homeless and vulnerable.

Scientists are working to prevent sloths from being harmed by deforestation. Scientists planted cocoa, banana and pineapple trees in an area where the forest area is made as agricultural land. As a result, it was determined that sloths prefer the cocoa tree more and do not spend time in other trees. Cocoa trees can be planted in areas where forests have been destroyed. Thus, both sloths can be provided with a safe shelter and the fruit of the cocoa tree can be a high-energy food source for these animals.

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