Eli5 How do Sloths actually survive ?


With predators out there yet they aren’t endangered with their slow movements … how do they survive out there in nature ?

Does their meat taste bad?

In: 25

Camouflage and that’s about it. Sloths excel in energy conservation, so they don’t need to forage as much as other animals. As a result, they spend a lot of their time perfectly still, so the camouflage is quite effective. They also have a symbiotic relationship with the green algae that grows on their fur, further aiding the camouflage.

They survive for a series of reasons.

First, they live high up in trees. While predators do exist, spotting a sloth that is green from being covered in moss/algae in the green tree tops above you is difficult. Second, because they move so slow, they don’t really catch a predators eye like fleeing prey does. A jaguar might walk across a branch a sloth is hanging on and not notice. Their power is just hiding in plain sight. Third, yea being covered in moss and algae and bacteria is kind of un-appetizing. Fourth, sloths have incredibly strong grip, meaning that prying them off the tree branch they are hanging from is difficult.

But sloths do suffer from predation, the most dangerous time for a sloth is actually where they’re on the ground, which they have to do every few weeks to go to the bathroom.

This is a common misconception! Sloths are actually slow because it helps them survive.

Their main predators are large cats like Ocelots, and large birds like eagles, which both find their prey by movement. By the sloth moving slow, it’s kind of invisible to its predators!

Also, they use very little energy, so they can survive for a long period of time without having to eat.

Stuff You Should Know did an entire episode on sloths. Very interesting.
Look for it where you get your podcasts.