sloth

(redirected from Sloths)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal.

sloth

(slōth, slôth), arboreal mammal found in Central and South America distantly related to armadillosarmadillo
, New World armored mammal of the order Edentata, a group that also includes the sloth and the anteater, characterized by peglike teeth without roots or enamel. Armadillos are found from Argentina to Panama, with one species reaching the southern United States.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and anteatersanteater,
name applied to various animals that feed on ants, termites, and other insects, but more properly restricted to a completely toothless group of the order Edentata. There are four species classified in three genera, all found in tropical Central and South America.
..... Click the link for more information.
. Sloths live in tropical forests, where they sleep, eat, and travel through the trees suspended upside down, clinging to branches with the powerful curved claws of their forelimbs and hindlimbs. Algae that grow on the hair impart a greenish color to the coat, which blends in with the foliage, but the algae are also eaten by the sloths. There is no tail.

The three-toed sloth (Bradypus) is about the size of a house cat, with a dense, furry coat and yellowish face. It has three toes on the front feet and five on the hind feet. In addition to algae, its main food is the leaves, buds, and stems of Cecropia, a tropical relative of the mulberry. The somewhat larger two-toed sloth (Choloepus) has very long hair. It eats a less restricted vegetarian diet. Sloths move sluggishly but can strike swiftly and powerfully if attacked. Huge ground sloths (see megatheriummegatherium
[Gr.,=large beast], extinct ground sloth, of the genus Megatherium, that was widely distributed in North and South America in the Pleistocene epoch. Fossil evidence shows that these mammals became extinct comparatively recently, about the time that the first
..... Click the link for more information.
) are extinct forms.

Sloths are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information.
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Edentata, families Bradypodidae and Megalonychidae.

sloth

[släth]
(vertebrate zoology)
Any of several edentate mammals in the family Bradypodidae found exclusively in Central and South America; all are slow-moving, arboreal species that cling to branches upside down by means of long, curved claws.

sloth

arboreal mammal, always associated with sluggishness. [Zoology: Misc.]

sloth

any of several shaggy-coated arboreal edentate mammals of the family Bradypodidae, esp Bradypus tridactylus (three-toed sloth or ai) or Choloepus didactylus (two-toed sloth or unau), of Central and South America. They are slow-moving, hanging upside down by their long arms and feeding on vegetation
References in periodicals archive ?
I spent time at a sloth sanctuary in Bahia in north-east Brazil, I hiked to Machu Picchu in Peru and I chilled out with cocktails on Copacabana beach in Rio.
In January 2014, a dead (accidental death) female 3-toed sloth (Bradypus tridactylus) (Figure, panel A) was found on the road near the residence of a Q fever patient.
Baby sloths are born among the branches and can grip and clamber right away.
As word of the planned export spread, local residents, tourists, and community leaders began gathering around the airport, demanding the sloths be released.
Since then, humans have taken over responsibility from the giant sloths for the avocado's survival but how it managed to get through the first 10,000 or so years after the giant sloth's extinction remains a mystery.
The 23-year-old has now started the process of placing GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking "backpacks" on sloths whose feeding range and movements are little known.
A local developer who knew of Pool's work asked in October if Pool would come and pick up the sloths that came out of trees he tore down to make way for a housing development.
The Linne's two-toed sloth is predicted to be a big draw at the zoo this summer along with father Enrique and mother Natja.
The ground sloth Megalonyx (xenarthra: megalonychidae) from the Pleistocene (late Irvingtonian) Camelot local fauna, Dorchester County, South Carolina.
The discovery of stone tools, a small primate skull, and sloth bones--found 28 to 34 feet deep in a cave named Padre Nuestro--has been called a "treasure trove" by researchers in the field of Caribbean archaeology.
Sloths are medium-sized mammals that live in Central America They mainly eat vegetation, they may also eat insects and small lizards.