Two-Toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni)
Our female Hoffmann's Two-Toed Sloth, Hope, has been joined in her habitat by a male named Rhubarb. Hope is 27 and for when the building reopens, she is generally the one on the left side of the habitat. Her favorite foods are grapes and hard boiled egg.
Rhubarb is 30 and so far his favorite spots are more towards the center of the habitat. His favorite foods are grapes and red leaf lettuce.
The Two-Toed Sloth, along with its cousins the Linnaeus's and Three-Toed Sloths, represents a primitive and fascinating group of animals. Sloths are nocturnal, arboreal mammals, meaning they are active at night and spend their time in trees. Sloths are the world’s slowest mammals. On average, these extremely slow-moving creatures descend from trees only once a week to leave their wastes and move to another feeding tree. They spend nearly all of their lives hanging upside down. In fact, their fur grows from the belly downward to their back. Due to high humidity and special grooves in their fur, algae easily grows in their fur, providing them with genuine “rainforest camouflage to go!” Pay close attention to the treetops in the Zoo’s rainforest building to spot Hope & Rhubarb.
Hoffmann's Two-Toed Sloths are small, usually 2 to 2.5 feet tall weighing anywhere from 9 to 20 pounds. They have brownish-greenish dense fur that acquires its color from two species of blue-green algae that grow in the fur and provide exceptional camouflage. They possess compact tailless bodies, rounded heads and lighter fur around their large eyes. Sloths are the only mammals whose hair grows in the opposite direction from the hair of other mammals. To accommodate their upside lifestyle, the hair parts in the middle of the belly and grows upward toward the back. The hair on the face points upward, too. This allows water to run off during rainstorms.
They have long legs with extremely long two-clawed forefeet (and three-clawed hind feet) that aid them in climbing high above the rainforest floor.
They have very poor eyesight and hearing and rely almost entirely on their senses of touch and smell. They are solitary and nocturnal.
Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloths have an extremely slow metabolism and have the lowest variable body temperature of any mammal. Unlike most mammals, their body temperature and metabolism will fluctuate throughout the day according to environmental temperatures. They live almost their entire lives upside down in the treetops and because of their slow metabolism they only have to climb down to the ground once a week to go to the bathroom.
A common mistake is referring to them as being related to monkeys because of their fur and long arms but they are actually more closely related to anteaters and armadillos.
They make their home in Central and South American tropical forests.
They live in rainforest canopies.
Hoffmann's Two-Toed Sloths are herbivores. They eat a wide variety of leaves, tender shoots, moss and fruit. They get all the water they need from the plants and fruits they eat. Because of their fruit diet, sloths are very important propagators of tropical plants. Several species of plants germinate only after they have passed through the sloths' digestive system.
Females give birth to a single offspring, which weighs about 1 pound. The young sloth clings onto its mother’s chest region and nurses. The young can hang upside down within 20 to 25 days but continues to nurse for the first five months of life. The young may associate with their mothers for the first two years before setting out on their own in their rainforest home. Females may gather together periodically. Males are solitary.
Average life span is 20 years in the wild and 30 or more years in human care.
The official status is Least Concern but they are vulnerable due to their strict rainforest habitat requirements, the future of these remarkable creatures is directly tied to the future of the forests that they inhabit. They are also sold illegally in the pet trade.