As indicated by their common, brown-throated three-toed sloths have brown coloration on their throat and head. Their coat consists of a layer of short, soft, and fine fur and a layer of thick, woolly fur. Algae often resides on outer layer, giving some individuals a greenish appearance. They have long forelimbs with three clawed-toes on each limb. They also have approximately 10 cervical vertebrate that enable them to rotate their necks up to 270 degrees. Their teeth are cylindrical and lack enamel. Similar to many ungulates, their stomachs are multi-compartmentalized, with intestinal microfauna that help digest cellulose from their exclusively vegetarian diets. Even as endotherms, brown-throated three-toed sloths have difficulty regulating their body temperature in cold environments and in cooler ambient temperatures. This is likely due to sparse muscle mass, their relatively small heart, and low-ranging heart rate. Adults range in mass from 3.49 to 5.19 kg, with an average of 4.34 kg. Average length is 60 cm, and they have a basal metabolic rate of 147 cm^3 oxygen/hour. Although size-dimorphism is not present in this species, males have a mid-dorsal speculum that is not present in females.
Range mass: 3.49 to 5.19 kg.
Average length: 60 cm.
Average basal metabolic rate: 147 cm^3 oxygen/hour.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: sexes colored or patterned differently
- Feldhamer, G., L. Drickamer, S. Vessey, J. Merritt. 2007. Mammalogy: Adaptation, Diversity, Ecology. Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Gilmore, D., C. Da Costa, D. Duarte. 2001. Sloth biology: an update on their physiological ecology, behavior and role as vectors of arthropods and arboviruses. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 34: 9-25.
- Gilmore, D., C. Da-Costa, D. Duarte. 2000. An update on the physiology of two- and three-toed sloths. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 33: 129-146. Accessed February 22, 2011 at http://www.scielo.br/pdf/bjmbr/v33n2/3528c.pdf.