Aptly named for its three distinct claws, the three-toed sloth is an unusual looking mammal best known for its sloth (slow) movements throughout its forest habitat. In terms of color and fur, Bradypus variegatus has grey-brown fur, which grows “ventral to dorsal, opposite than most mammals, providing quick rain runoff”(3). A finer layer of fur grows beneath for further insulation from the elements(3). Unusually, the sloth’s fur changes to a green tinged color during the rainy season because of the algae that grows in the grooves on its hairs; this provides further protection and camouflage from its predators(2). Males differ from females in that they have “an orange patch [of hair] that contains a brown stripe through the middle”(3) Bradypus variegatus has a small head, tail, and facial features as well as limited eyesight and hearing(1).
- (1) Christine Chan, “Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus),” Brown Throated three-toed sloth, http://bss.sfsu.edu/geog/bholzman/courses/fall99projects/sloth.htm (accessed March 3, 2011).
- (2) “Brown-throated Sloth,” Brown-throated Sloth – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown-throated_Sloth (accessed March 1, 2011).
- (3) “Bradypus variegatus,” Species Account for Bradypus variegatud, Brown-Throated, Three-Toed Sloth,” http://www.uwsp.edu/biology/facilities/vertebrates/Mammals%20of%20Paraguay/Bradypus%20variegatus/Bradypus%20variegatus.htm (accessed March 3, 2011).
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