Costa Rica’s Sloths Hang Upside Down in the Rain Forest and Sleep 10 Hours a Day
Sloths live in the tropical rain forest of Costa Rica. If you really want to see sloths go to the Caribbean low land rain forest where hundreds of sloths make their home. They hang mysteriously, upside down, clinging to the tree limbs with their toes or claws. Enchanting creatures! But with strange habits. They sleep around ten hours per day, and the other time is spent eating mostly tender shoots and leaves of the Cecropia trees. These leaves provide very little energy and do not digest easily, therefore, the Sloth has a large, specialized slow acting stomach with multiple compartments in which symbiotic bacteria break down the tough leaves, and the digestive process can take a month or longer. The sloth has a very slow metabolic rate and maintains low body temperatures, around 86-93 degrees F.
They go down to the ground about once a week to urinate and defecate, and go to the same spot all the time, where the sloths seem to find each other for breeding purposes. And females usually bear one baby sloth per year.
The strangest thing is that although sloths are slow creatures on land, they are very good and fast swimmers under the water. When do they go into the water? Well, we don’t have the answer to that questions. Maybe it’s when they want to take a bath?
If you are visiting the Southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica be sure to stop in for a sloth tour at Aviarios del Caribe, a sloth sanctuary created to rehabilitate injured sloths. Here you learn all about sloths and their life cycles. And you get to visit with Buttercup, the first sloth to be brought into the sanctuary some sixteen years ago. Also see baby sloths being fed with eyedroppers by young volunteers who come here from different universities around the world to study this strange creature and it’s environment.
Would you like to join a Sloth Club? Apparently there is one based in Japan with about seven hundred members. Sorry I don’t have the link to get you in touch with the club. Just google sloth club Japan. The club’s philosophy is based on this quiet, peaceful, efficient, and non violent creature.
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