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Brief Summary

    Brief Summary
    provided by EOL authors
    Bradypus is a terrestrial mammal of the sloth family, which is often characterized by its slow-moving demeanor and coarse hair. Although Bradypus variegatus has similar features to other bradypodidae, as a species it can be clearly distinguished by the brown coloration along the “sides of its face and throat, prominent dark brown forehead, suborbital stripe outlining the ocular area of the face and shorter mandibular spout”(1). Found in the forest canopies of Central and South America, the brown-throated three-toed sloth feeds off of leaves and shoots, descending from the treetops every eight days to defecate(1). Home ranges vary in size from 0.5 to 9 hectares, and sloths are said to spend time in an average of 40 trees for every 5 hectares(2). A portion of Bradypus variegatus’ home range is passed on from mother to baby sloth for competition reduction. Mating season occurs annually before the start of the rainy season, and one offspring per litter is born after an estimated gestation period of 4-6 months(3).
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    10527175

Comprehensive Description

    Comprehensive Description
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    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”(2). A finer layer of fur grows beneath for further insulation from the elements(2). 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. Males differ from females in that they have “an orange patch [of hair] that contains a brown stripe through the middle”(2). Bradypus variegatus has a small head, tail, and facial features as well as limited eyesight and hearing(1).
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    10527118
    Comprehensive Description
    provided by EOL authors
    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).
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    10527174

Distribution

    Distribution
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    Brown-throated three-toed sloths can be found throughout Central and South America, ranging as far north as Honduras and as far south as Brazil(4). They are native to Nicaragua, Paraguay, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Argentina, Columbia, and Honduras, but their population density within each habitat varies(4). In Panama, for example there are an estimated 8.5 animals per hectare, whereas in Costa Rica, an estimated 9.9 dwell per hectare(4).
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    10527171

Habitat

    Habitat
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    Bradypus variegatus is a tree dweller of the humid, subtropical areas of Central and South America(1). “The crowns of the trees in tropical forests are often thick with interlocking lianas and other vegetation and provide strong footholds for sloth travel, sleeping, and mating”(1). Because Bradypus spends the near entirety of its time hanging from tree limbs in the middle to upper layers of the canopy, it prefers more densely wooded areas, which allow for migration from one tree to the next. With that in mind, “Bradypus prefers trees with large crowns and selects them based on the amount of time the crowns are exposed to sun,” mostly because of its low body temperature and dependence on external sources of heat(1).
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    10527177

Trophic Strategy

    Trophic Strategy
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    The brown-throated sloth eats various leaves and foliage in its habitat, however the majority of its diet is supplied by Cecropia trees which also tend to be located in prime locations for such limited organisms (by clearings and riverbanks)(1). Most of the water these sloths need comes from the leaves that they eat(1). Bradypus variegatus’ hooked claws allow it to pull leaves towards its mouth(1).
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    10527347

Threats

    Threats
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    Predators of the brown-throated sloth include jaguars, harpy eagles, and anacondas(1). There are few other threats to the sloth aside from deforestation and humans trespassing on sloth habitat(7).
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    10527353