Sloth In Tree
Photograph - Photography
A two toed sloth in a tree.
The name "two-toed sloth" erroneously describes the number of toes. They have two fingers in their hands (in the thoracic limbs) and three toes in their feet (in the pelvic limbs). The name "two-toed" sloth is misleading, although widely used. The correct name should be two-fingered sloth (Choloepus spp) as the differences occur in the hands, and not in the feet. They are also larger than three-toed sloths, having a body length of 58 to 70 centimetres (23 to 28 in), and weighing 4 to 8 kilograms (8.8 to 17.6 lb). Other distinguishing features include a more prominent snout, longer fur, and the absence of a tail.
Two-toed sloths spend most of their lives hanging upside down from trees. They cannot walk, so they pull hand-over-hand to move around, which is at an extremely slow rate. Being predominantly nocturnal, their fur, which grows greenish algae to blend in, is their main source of protection. Their body temperatures depend at least partially on the ambient temperature; they cannot shiver to keep warm, as other mammals do, because of their unusually low metabolic rates and reduced musculature. Two-toed sloths also differ from three-toed sloths in their climbing behaviour, preferring to descend head first.
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