Brown-Throated Three-Toed Sloth

Brown-Throated Three-Toed Sloth
Brown-Throated Three-Toed Sloth
Wolfgang Bayer/DCI

Commonly mistaken for a primate, sloths are actually more closely related to the armadillo.

They are well known for their slow movement and metabolism, taking up to a month to digest a single meal of their preferred food: the leaves and fruit of trumpetwood.


They are strictly arboreal, wrapping their long curved claws around branches as they move through the canopy to forage for leaves, flowers, and buds. They may be seen hanging from branches or sitting in the forks of trees, descending to the ground only to defecate or to crawl to another tree.

A blue-green algae grows on their hair, providing camouflage.

Their distinctive "aye-aye" cry is heard more frequently during mating season.

The three-toed sloth moves much slower than the its cousin the two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus).

All sloths are seriously threatened by large-scale clearing of forests in northern and eastern South America.

Animal Facts

Name: Brown-Throated Three-Toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus)

Family: Bradypodidae (Three-Toed Sloths)

Range: Central America to Argentina

Habitat: Evergreen and semi-deciduous forest

Diet: Leaves, twigs and fruit, mainly of the trumpetwood

Head and Body Length: 20 to 21 inches (50 to 54 cm)

Tail Length: 1.5 to 2 inches (4 to 5 cm)

Weight: 8 to 9 pounds (3.5 to 4 kg)

Life Cycle: Mating year-round; gestation about 150 days, one young born

Description: Brown fur with dark forehead; small eyes; round head; long, coarse fur; slender body; arms longer than legs; curved fingers and toes; three long, sharp claws on each limb

Conservation Status: Not listed by the IUCN.