I spent 12 hours in a sloth habitat in Oregon and learned so much about these fascinating animals. The habitat is part of Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center. They take in sloths who have lost their habitat due to logging or who have been orphaned. Below are my favorite pictures and a some sloth facts. 😍
Sloths are solitary animals. Besides mating, they hang out alone. Their physicality is aligned with their low-key, slow lifestyle–from their low metabolism, low-nutrient diet, their low-muscle mass. So it makes sense that they are also solitary. They can become very ill, and even die, from stress. Sloths needs drama-free livin’.
Sloths cannot digest sugar. Unable to be broken down, sugars can ferment and turn to alcohol inside the sloth’s digestive track. This can lead to alcohol poisoning and possibly death. Ok, my first two facts are related to how sloths can die. Perhaps this is because the Sloth Sleepover guide had the sloths’ safety in mind? They are sensitive buddies.
All of a sloth’s organs are positioned internally to allow for constant and complete inversion–eating, sleeping, mating, giving birth, everything! In the wild, they are susceptible to predators when they come off the tree balcony to go to the bathroom. They may only go potty once a month.
Sloths have very low body fat. And they can’t regulate their body temperature. The habitat was very hot!
I was happy that we needed to whisper in the habitat. They don’t like loud noises. Again, the stress response of a sloth has to be managed carefully. This is why it is not part of the ZWCC’s mission to introduce sloths back into the wild. The stress from the transition may prove to be fatal.
This little lady had a big itch on her belly.
These sloths were obsessed with the cucumber pieces we were feeding them. They enjoyed the crunchy texture.
This was the only male in the bunch.
Best use for an old milk crate.
“Who has got the cucumber?”
Special animal friends
They reminded me of vampires kind of. Cute vampires, like Kiefer Sutherland.
After a while the sloths began to hook my cucumbered hand in for a swifter delivery. They were moving surprisingly fast!
Their hook-like nails allow them to hang without using any muscle.
Been there. Done that. Bought the t-shirt. What an amazing experience.