Background information
Taxonomy Three-toed Sloth
Status Endangered
Range Central and South America
Habitat Rainforest
Feathers, fur

Sloths are medium-sized mammals belonging to the Megalonychidae (two-toed sloth) and Bradypodidae (three-toed sloth) families. They are part of the order Pilosa and are therefore related to anteaters, which sport a similar set of specialized claws. They reside in Central and South America.

Sloths are well-known for their slowness and tendency to hang from tree branches by their claws for long periods of time.

Rio 2

A Rapping Sloth appears in the second film as one of the contestants to the Carnival show Nico and Pedro are organizing. She recites poems at an absurd speed. She's also in the final show performing a part of the song. She's played by Amy Heidemann, who is known for her place in the Duo Group Karmin.

Taxonomy and names

The sloth's taxonomic suborder is Folivora, while some call it Phyllophaga. Both names mean "leaf-eaters"; derived from Latin and Greek, respectively. Names for the animals used by tribes in Ecuador include ritto, rit, and ridette, mostly forms of the word "sleep," "eat," and "dirty" from Tagaeri tribe of Huaorani.


Sloths are classified as folivores, as the bulk of their diets consist of buds, tender shoots, and leaves, mainly of Cecropia trees. Some two-toed sloths have been documented as eating insects, small reptiles, and birds as a small supplement to their diets.

They have made extraordinary adaptations to an arboreal browsing lifestyle. Leaves, their main food source, provide very little energy or nutrients, and do not digest easily, and only defecate once a week.

Since leaves provide little energy, sloths deal with this by a range of economy measures: they have very low metabolic rates (less than half of that expected for a mammal of their size), and maintain low body temperatures when active (30–34°C or 86–93°F), and still lower temperatures when resting.

Although unable to survive outside the tropical rainforests of South and Central America, within that environment sloths are outstandingly successful creatures. Four of the six living species are presently rated "least concern"; the maned three-toed sloth (Bradypus torquatus), which inhabits Brazil's dwindling Atlantic Forest, is classified as "endangered," while the island-dwelling pygmy three-toed sloth (B. pygmaeus) is "critically endangered."


In Costa Rica, the Aviarios Sloth Sanctuary cares for wounded and abandoned sloths. About 130 animals have been released back into the wild.


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