The Three Toed Sloth. Essay

754 words - 3 pages

The Three-Toed SlothThe three-toed sloth is a very unique animal. It is one of a kind. This specieslives only in one geographic region and can survive only there. It has very strange habits and its body is configured differently from other mammals. This unique animal is very much in danger from man made problems.There are two different sloth species, the two-toed sloth and the three-toed sloth. I will write about the Three-toed sloth (Bradypodidae Bradypus) that lives in tropical forest regions in both Central and Southern America. This animal (sloth) is unique due to the way it lives and how its body structure is organized. It scales large trees and sleeps 16 hours a day. Its organs are in different positions due to the time spent hanging upside down.The three-toed sloth's weight ranges from 2.25 - 5.5kg with average weight being around 4.34kg. Its size ranges from 420 - 800 mm with average size being 578mm. The sloth's fur is long, and either brown or gray. Its head is usually covered with dark hair, to make it less noticeable for snakes at night. The male three-toed sloth has white or orange patches of fur with black stripes (dorsal marking) between the shoulders. Also due to fact that the three-toed sloth spends most of its life in the trees some of its internal organs (liver, stomach, spleen, pancreas) are arranged in different locations than in most mammals. Another prominent feature is that unlike in other mammals, hair in three-toed sloth grows in the direction from the stomach to the back. The other peculiar feature is that during the rainy season the three-toed sloth has green algae growing on it. The sloths do not remove the algae because it provides camouflage. This is a sort of symbiosis between the algae and the sloth. Also sloths have 9 cervical vertebrae while other mammals have 7. This allows a wide range of motion for the sloths head.The three-toed sloth's diet is very specific. Due to this fact it does not do well in captivity. It thrives on twigs, leaves, and buds. The shape of sloth's mouth does not give this animal an opportunity for greater variety of food. Due to slow metabolism the three-toed sloth defecates usually once...

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