Why do Sloths Hang Upside-Down?

The Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica not only provides a safe haven and home for dozens of sloths, but also carries out biological research on these little-known creatures. Here they provide an explanation as to why and how sloths can live their entire lives upside down.
“Three-fingered sloths have a unique system of multiple internal adhesions that anchor their abdominal organs against the lower ribs. These adhesions support the weight of a sloth’s stomach, kidneys and digestive tract when inverted, facilitating ease in breathing by preventing the lungs from being compressed.

Our Sloth Backpack Project reveals that sloths spend about 90% of their day inverted; the internal adhesions make that possible by reducing sloths’ energy expenditure. Because of their extremely slow metabolic rate and exceptionally low body temperature, it can take up to 30 days to digest a single leaf. Having a constantly full stomach means they can’t ingest much on a daily basis, so their caloric intake is very low. Sloths have virtually no flexibility in their energy budget: they generate just enough energy from their diet to move when and where required; beyond that, not much more is stored.

Why do sloths hang upside down for so long? Because they need to eat tender new leaves that grow on the outer tips of branches. These leaves often have a lower toxin content and are easier to digest. In order to reach these choice leaves, a sloth has to hang by its toes.

In addition to the adhesions, sloths have other anatomical features that allow them to remain comfortable when inverted. These include circulatory adaptations that prevent the blood rushing to the head and a highly specialized esophagus that allows them to swallow while upside down.”


Hamish and Andy’s Sleepy Sloth Challenge

Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year this year was spent in South America. Episode 4 sees them jetting off to Costa Rica to visit some sloths and learn about their sleepy ways! Watch the video from 33:53 for the sloth segment.

hamishandandysloth1 hamishandandysloth2After meeting the sloths, the boys got a little sleepy on a special tea… and began their sleepy sloth challenge…

hamishandandysloth5The sleepiness appeared to take a while to wear off! Welcome to the life of a sloth!




Happy Birthday to my Best Friend

Today is the boy’s birthday! We had friends over last night, have spent all day together today and will see family tonight. He is the cherry on top of my sloth-filled life and I love him so very very much, not least for putting up with this all-consuming obsession of mine (and, generally, encouraging it…).

To get into the party mood, here’s some pics of Buttercup the Sloth on her birthday, from the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica. buttercupbirthday buttercupbirthday2

Costa Rica v Netherlands Google Doodle

The other day the Google Doodle featured a sloth for the Costa Rica vs Netherlands World Cup 2014 match! This speedy little sloth was good at defending! So were the Costa Rica side actually, but unfortunately they couldn’t get over the line in the end. soccerdoodleslothClick here for a link to the archived Doodle which was animated.


The Ultimate Sloth Gift Guide

Having trouble finding a gift for the sloth lover in your life? With Christmas fast approaching, you’ll need to be quicker than a sloth if you want to get them that present they will treasure for many long, slow years. Here’s a short guide to my top ten picks.

Number 10: Sloth Art by Tara Billinger– These plus many more!
SlothArt byTara

Number 9: Sloth Socks from Sockittome.com

Number 8: Sloth Love Mug from Cafe Press

Number 7: “The Croods” movie

Number 6: “A Little Book of Sloth” by Lucy Cooke

Number 5: Sloth Flip T-shirt- “Ask me why I’m lazy”lazytshirt

Number 4: “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly Said the Sloth” by Eric Carle

Number 3: Sloth rings from Etsy

Number 2: Three Toed Sloth toy from Amazon

AND NUMBER ONE: If your recipient simply has everything already, why not make a donation on their behalf to the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica, to help rehabilitate injured sloths and return them to the wild. climbinggif

Happy shopping, and Merry Christmas!