Hailing from the rainforests of Central and South America, the sloth likes to spend its days just hanging around. You either love them or you cringe at the thought of them--or you are completely neutral about them. Regardless of how you feel, you're going to learn a bunch of cool facts about those creepy little critters today, whether you like it or not! You can't turn back now because the sloths will chase you! You can take your time, though, because they aren't going to win any races anytime soon.
1. There were ancient monster-sized sloths.
Their official fancy name is Giant Megatherium, or Giant Sloth. This is how big they were, that's me for scale. These monstrous creatures roamed the Earth around 10,000 years ago in what is now South America. They were approximately the size of a rhinoceros. Paleontologists observed that they probably traveled mostly on their back legs, like a furry tyrannosaurus rex. Their diet is mostly plants, however, it has been suggested that they were also opportunistic carnivores (how about no). If you think small sloths are spooky, just wait until you see one of these. They are downright terrifying. I bet they would terrorize villages like Godzilla or Clifford's evil sloth brother.
2. They are pros at hanging, dead or alive.
That's right, even when sloths have passed on and gone to sloth heaven, their hand muscles are so used to hanging onto branches that they are still able to do so even after their heart has stopped beating. Kinda creepy, right? Like a zombie.
3. They are so dirty they can support life in their fur.
Algae, moths, beetles (maybe The Beatles, too), cockroaches, fungi, and other organisms sometimes make a sloth their home. They work as an ecosystem and collaborate to help each other survive. Sloths are like the mobile homes of the rainforests. We could be living on a sloth right now. Earth could just be a tiny spec in an ecosystem between the algae-infested hairs of a sloth. Just let that sink in.
4. They're great at swimming.
Sloths are very clumsy on land, but they are very avid swimmers. This is surprising to me because they are so slow it seems like they would sink. However, they move up to three times faster in the water than they do on land. Also, they can hold their breath underwater for up to 40 minutes. So I guess that makes sinking not a big deal.
5. They make adorable sounds.
Yes, this is pretty cute, but it is all a matter of opinion. I think people are crazy to think all sloths are always cute, because sometimes they are just plain weird and creepy--and don't get me started on the sloth meme. *shudders*
Stay safe out there.