October 20 is known as the International Sloths Day. Even though the day has passed, there are some interesting things about these mammals that you should know. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison proved that sloths are the slowest mammals on our planet. They studied three of them for almost seven years.
Researchers were expecting these animals to have a low metabolism. Everyone knows how lazy they can be. However, it was a surprise when they discovered that not only sloths are having a few needs regarding the energy, but they are also the slowest mammals on our planet. Scientists compared the metabolic rates of sloths with other mammals which enjoy eating leaves.
According to the researchers, the lazy animal is expanding only 162 kilojoules per day per kilogram of energy. The closest mammal was the panda, with the average energy of 185 kilojoules per day per kilogram. Most people wonder how these animals manage to live. It seems that their body has some adaptations. They are sleeping a lot and they can control their body temperatures to burn energy.
They are spending 20 hours per day sleeping. They also move very slow and most of the times they stay in the same place. Even though they live in trees, they can swim. Some species are endangered and they could disappear in the future.
If you want to find a sloth in its habitat, you have to go to South America. They live in the trees and feed on the leaves that other animals can’t get because they can’t climb so high. According to the researchers, sloths used to be bigger than they are now.
The slowest mammal on our planet mates in the trees and give birth in the same place. When a female is ready to mate, she will scream. Males have to fight for her and only one will have the chance of mating with the female. Sloths can have one baby at a time. Baby sloths can stay with their mothers even for four years before they will need to make a new home.
Sloths are really interesting mammals because they are very slow, but they manage to reproduce, eat and have similar activities as other animals.
Image source: Wikipedia