Brown-throated three-toed sloth in cecropia tree, Costa Rica  

Brown-throated three-toed sloth in cecropia tree, Costa Rica

Costa Rica"s forests are habitats for two sloth species: Hoffmann"s two-toed sloth and the star of today"s homepage, the brown-throated three-toed sloth. Despite being larger than many other tree-dwelling mammals, three-toed sloths have adapted by reducing their muscle mass and size to thrive on treetops. Their large stomachs have four chambers, which, when full, account for about 30% of their body weight. These shaggy critters are so sedentary that algae grow on their coats, which helps to camouflage them within the rainforest canopy. In 2021, these slow-moving creatures were declared national symbols in Costa Rica. Then-president Carlos Alvarado signed the initiative into law to emphasize the sloths" importance in the country"s ecosystem.

© Juan Carlos Vindas/Getty Images

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