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(vertebrate zoology)
A family of mammals in the order Edentata comprising the true sloths.



(sloths), a family of mammals of the order Edentata. Body length, 50–64 cm; weight, 4–7 kg. The front legs are longer than the hind legs; the toes (there are two-toed and three-toed sloths) have powerful sickle-shaped claws; the neck is very mobile, allowing the head to turn as much as 270°. Bradypodidae have 18 teeth. Unlike other mammals, they have six to nine cervical vertebrae and 14–24 pairs of ribs. The long hair is grayish brown and often has a greenish tinge caused by the algae that grow in it. The senses of sight and smell are well developed in sloths, but their sense of hearing is not as acute. Body temperature is changeable, varying from 24° to 35°C.

There are two genera, Bradypus and Choloepus, with seven species distributed in South and Central America. They inhabit tropical forests, living in treetops. Nocturnal mammals, sloths sleep during the day, curled up in the vertical crotches of trees. They move extremely slowly and are not mobile. They usually hang horizontally from branches with their backs to the ground; they come down only when it is necessary and will crawl across open spaces as far as 30–40 m. Sloths may spend their entire lives in the top of one tree. They live alone or in pairs (rarely); the single young is born once a year. Sloths eat leaves, young shoots, and fruit.


Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 6. Moscow, 1971.


References in periodicals archive ?
Why three-toed sloths go to the trouble to clamber down to the forest floor to scrape out a latrine depression about once every eight days has been just one of many questions about their lives.
It remains to be seen what effect the changes in tooth position have upon the dental morphologies and subsequent feeding mechanics, and additional research is required to determine whether this and other dental anomalies also occur in three-toed sloths.
In captivity, three-toed sloth juveniles remain with their mothers between five and seven months after birth (Taube et al.
Two-toed sloths, for one, have darker brown coats than the three-toed varieties, while maned three-toed sloths have darker brown heads and necks than other three-toed sloths.
5 -- 7) Clockwise from above: Tourists hike to the top of Islas Murcielagos, where relatively barren conditions afford open views of the ocean; Nicaraguan folkloric dancers are ready to entertain visitors; a three-toed sloth seems to wave to travelers hiking in the Sloth Valley in Costa Rica's Manuel Antonio National Park.
11 The architect who resembles the three-toed sloth or the Prince de Ligne's scientist, as described by his valet.
They come in six shapes--Pigmy Marmoset, Three-toed Sloth, Scarlet Macaw, Blue Morpho Butterfly, Jaguar and Tapir--and include acerola, maracuja, graviola and cupuacu flavors.
The children were also captivated by some unusual and exciting animals - the three-toed sloth, the toucan, the scarlet macaw, the iguana, the jaguar, the armadillo, and the anaconda.
THIS adorable smiling pygmy three-toed sloth cradling her baby is just one of the incredible sights on the spectacular Planet Earth II.
The Sky 1 show sees the presenter trek through the Amazon rainforest in the hope of spotting and snapping some of the creatures he read about as a youngster, from the three-toed sloth to the pink river dolphin.