As you probably know, Memphis Zoo recently welcomed a new baby sloth to its ever-growing family! Parents "Marilyn" and "Sparky" welcomed a new Linné two-toed sloth, Baby “Lua.” Like her parents, Baby Lua is full of wonder, and we know five reasons why!
1. Descendent of a Superorder
More than 60 million years ago, the sloth’s superorder ancestor, Xenarthra, first inhabited the earth as a group of placental mammals. Today, they can only be found in the Americas, represented by anteaters, tree sloths and armadillos.
2. No Stranger to Danger
In all their slowness, the sloth seems not to shy away from danger as they opt to take their weekly bathroom break in the same spot, making them quite vulnerable to predators.
3. Sleep All Day, Sleep All Night?
Up until a recent study in 2008, it was thought that sloths sleep 15 to 18 hours per day, but they actually only sleep about 10 hours a day. Rough life!
4. Eyes at 270 Degrees
Sloths have a wide range of sight. The three-toed sloths can turn their heads almost 270 degrees, which is ideal for any animal that needs to keep an eye out for predators at all times and moves only 6 to 8 feet per minute.
5. A Relationship of a Different Color
Believe it or not, sloths and algae have a very interesting relationship. Due to the length of time sloths spend in a single position, algae tends to grow in their coat. In a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” relationship, the sloths give algae a place to grow, which in turn serves as camouflage against predators.
How were those for some quick and easy facts? Hope you learned something new. We’re looking forward to your next visit to Memphis Zoo. Be sure to stop by and say “hi” to the sloths! Who knows, maybe you can catch some of these facts in action!