Did You Know Panama has 3 Types of Sloths?
It is true world! This tiny little country has three types of sloths. Did you even know that there were more than one type of sloth? There are and they are distinctly different. Here in Panama we have the Three Toed Sloth, Two Toed Sloth and the endangered Pygmy Sloth. Before I tell you about the different kinds of sloths in the Republic of Panama please watch this amazing video which explains the differences.
The Different Types of Sloths
All together there are six types of sloth on our beautiful planet. They all inhabit the jungles of Central and South America. There are two types of Sloth (Genera). It is easy to distinguish the two as you saw in the video above.
Bradypus the Three Toed Sloth-
Here in Panama we have the Bradypus Variegatus and the Bradypus Pygmaeus. These sloths spend their lives living in the trees of the tropical rain forest. These sloths have faces like a raccoon and move very slow. The Bradypus is quite sedentary and it has been shown that they can spend multiple days hanging out in one tree. Their diet consists of leaves and is 100% vegetarian. The Bradypus has one physical feature that can save its life. It can swivel its head 300 degrees to help it spot Harpy Eagles and other birds of prey that like to dine on them. It is easy to tell males from females because of the colorful patch on the back of males. They can live up to 30 years old and begin mating at 3 years.
The Bradypus Variegatus is the sloth that is most seen here in Panama. This sloth can be found throughout the country wherever there is jungle canopy. These guys are very cute and we actually made the Variegatus our company mascot with a stuffed animal named Papo.
The Bradypus Pygmaeus can only be found on Isla Escudo de Veraguas, in the islands of Bocas del Toro, Panama and is endangered. Back in 2013 the Dallas World Aquarium was stopped from trying to take 8 pygmy sloths from Panama. The people of Panama spoke up and the animals were released back into the wild.
Choloepus Hoffmanni the Two Toed Sloth-
In Panama we also have the Choloepus Hoffmani Sloth. This sloth is much more difficult to see in the wild. I have been here 5 years and have yet to see one in the wild. The two toed sloth has some distinguishing features. First it only has two claws on it front paws. Second it has a snout that is largely hairless. The two toed sloth is much more active than the other sloths. They also like to spend their lives upside down hanging from branches. Also a strict vegetarian but has a more varied diet than the three toed sloth. They can live to be 29 years of age females reach mating age at 3 1/2 years and males between 4-5 years.
Sloths Can Grow Algae on Their Back!
Did you know that due to their sloth (namesake) they actually can grow moss on their fur? Yes, they actually have their own little algae ecosystem growing on their body. This patch becomes much more pronounced during the rainy season.
Sloths in Captivity and Rescue Centers
Due to their cuteness and their calm demeanor sloths are often taken as pets. We all know that this is wrong and if they are capable to live in the wild they should be set free. There are also some great animal rescue centers that rehabilitate sloths in Panama and Costa Rica. The go to place on the web for information about sloth rescue has to the be the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica. The rescue center that we love in Panama is of course Safarick’s Zoo and Animal Rescue on the gorgeous Caribbean side of Panama. Antonio and the team recently set the three toed sloth below free after it was rehabilitated. The Panama government knows where to bring injured sloths. Click the image below to see a recent release of one of the sloths at Safarick’s Animal Rescue on Facebook.
When you visit Panama don’t forget to connect with VIP Panama Tours. We might even get the privilege of seeing a sloth in the wild. We can’t guarantee it, but we can sure hope!