Pale-throated Three-toed Sloth
The Pale-throated Sloth (Bradypus tridactylus) is a three-toed sloth that inhabits tropical rainforests of Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas and Brazil. This sloth lives high in the canopy. It is a mammal classified within the Bradypodidae family. It is one of only four species of three-toed sloths; the other three being the Pygmy Sloth, the Maned Sloth, and the Brown-throated Sloth.
Pale-throated Sloths have almost no tail or external ears, and its head is slightly rounded with a blunt nose. The body is covered with long and coarse hair. Very small green algae sometimes live mutualistically in the pits of the hair, which gives the sloth an overall greenish appearance that serves as camouflage. Male Pale-throated sloths have a bright yellow or orange patch on the back. The females have two mammae in the chest region. The Pale-throated sloth is armed with long, compressed, arched, hollowed claws, of which the middle claw is the largest and most powerful.
It grows to a length of between 1.5 and 2.5 feet. The limbs are long and weak, with anterior extremities that are nearly double the length of the posterior. The Pale-throated sloth has nine neck vertebrae, giving it extreme flexibility.
The Pale-throated sloth can hang so securely with its hooklike claws that it even falls asleep in this position. It may even stay suspended in the trees for some time after it dies.
Pale-throated sloths have a gestation period of six months, usually giving birth to a single infant. After the birth the young animal depends on its mother to carry it on her back for up to nine months, although it is weaned on to leaves after one month.
University of Michigan Museum of Zoology
BBC Science and Nature
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