The sloth is not lazy, just slow. Instead of foraging all day long to get enough energy from the leaves it eats, the sloth conserves energy by being inactive. This requires few heavy muscles, making the sloth light enough to climb high on thin branches where it can feed without worrying about jaguars.
- The sloth only climbs down to the ground once a week to go to the bathroom at the base of a tree, which perhaps fertilizes the tree, its food source.
- With back legs too weak to walk, the sloth must drag itself along the ground with its claws at a maximum speed of 5 feet a minute.
- In the trees, the sloth picks up speed, and can cross the canopy at 15 feet per minute in emergency situations.
- In addition to algae, the sloth’s fur is home to a variety of moths, ticks, beetles, and other small creatures.