Two-toed Sloths

The two-toed sloth does everything while hanging upside down from trees, including eating, sleeping, mating and even giving birth!

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Sloths move very slowly and sleep for up to 15 hours a day to conserve their energy.

This is mostly due to their diet, which consists of low-energy food such as leaves and occasionally fruit.

Sloths have grooved hair that allows algae to grow there, giving the animals a green tint that helps camouflage them in the forest.

If you spend a lot of time hanging in trees then you need to be able to hold tight, and the sloths have a very powerful grip. Their long claws curve around tree branches like a safety harness.

Despite this powerful grip, sloths actually have a relatively low muscle mass of around 25% - mammals usually have around twice as much.

Our two-toed sloth, named Tina, arrived at Chester Zoo in February 2012 after moving from a zoo in Germany where she was born in 2011.

A two-toed sloth at Chester Zoo

Facts & Info

Interesting facts

Where they live: Northern South America

Habitat: Lowland and tropical forest

Size: 60 to 70cm

Weight: 7-9kg

Threats: Deforestation, hunted for meat and fur

Species Information

Scientific name Choloepus didactylus
Order Pilosa
Family Megalonychidae
Genus Choloepus
IUCN status Least Concern
Roles in the zoo

Research (ex situ): This species is part of applied research that leads to evidence-based decisions regarding in-zoo management.


Interdependence: This species helps demonstrate that all living things, including humans, live in ecosystems and depend on other living things for their survival.

Human Impact: This species helps demonstrate that human activities are causing serious environmental damage.

You! This species helps demonstrate that we can all make changes to help the environment and zoos can help inspire people to do this.

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