Sloth facts for kids.

Fascinating Sloth Facts for Kids: The Slowest Mammal on Earth!

Sloths are the slowest mammals on the planet. They barely move, causing algae to grow on their fur! Keep reading to learn fun and fascinating Sloth facts for kids.

Sloth facts for kids.

Fact 1: Sloths are the slowest mammal on Earth!

Sloths are super slow-moving animals and hold the record for being the slowest mammals on Earth. They move at a speed of only about 0.15 miles per hour.

That means it would take a sloth over 6 hours to walk 1 mile! On average, a 10-year-old walking at a normal pace would take about 20 minutes to walk 1 mile.

Sid the sloth from the Ice Age movies.

Fact 2: Sid from Ice Age is a Sloth!

Sid the Sloth is a popular character from the animated movie “Ice Age.” He is portrayed as a friendly, clumsy sloth!

Sloths have small heads with big, rounded eyes and short, stubby tails. They appear to be always smiling. Sloths have long arms and legs with curved claws for climbing trees and grabbing branches.

Sloths have small, rounded ears that are usually hidden by their fur. They also have a short, stubby nose.

Sloth in a tree.

Fact 3: There are two main types of Sloths

Sloths are mammals. Six species of sloths are divided into two groups: the three-toed sloths and the two-toed sloths. The name comes from the amount of claws on a sloth’s front feet.

The two-toed sloth is larger than the three-toed sloth. On average, two-toed sloths weigh 15-19 pounds, and three-toed sloths weigh 8-10 pounds.

Sloths live 40 years in the wild.

Sloths are related to anteaters and armadillos.

Sloth hanging from tree

Fact 4: Sloths live in trees in the rainforest and jungles of Central and South America

Sloths are arboreal mammals, meaning they spend most of their time in trees. Sloths spend most of their time hanging upside down from trees!

They live high up in the trees of tropical rainforests and jungles found in Central and South America, in Brazil, Costa Rica, and Panama.

Sloths find it difficult to walk on the ground due to their sharp claws. Trees in rainforests are tall and have many leaves, making them the perfect hiding spot from predators.

They don’t need to come down because the trees provide everything they need, like food, shelter, and safety.

Sloth eating leaves.

Fact 5: Sloths eat leaves

A sloth’s diet consists of leaves from cecropia, ficus, and other tree species found in their rainforest habitats. These leaves are typically low in nutrients and can be challenging to digest, which matches the sloths’ slow metabolism.

Sometimes, they will eat twigs, fruit, insects, and, on occasion, small birds.

Sloth moving between trees.

Fact 6: Sloths spend 90% of their time hanging upside down from trees!

Sloths don’t just hang upside down for fun, it helps them too.

It helps them hide from predators.

It helps them save energy. Sloths move very slowly because they eat leaves that don’t give them many nutrients. Hanging upside down is super easy for them—it doesn’t use much energy at all!

This means they can save energy for when needed, like finding food or exploring.

Sloths are built for hanging. They have special claws and muscles that make it easy to grip onto branches without falling. Their bodies are built in such a way that they can eat while hanging upside down.

Sleeping sloth.

Fact 7: Sloths spend 8-15 hours a day sleeping!

It was believed that Sloths slept 20 hours a day like our friend the Koala, however this is not true.

On average, sloths sleep 8-10 hours a day but can sleep up to 15 hours.

One reason sloths are sleepy is their metabolism. They have a very slow metabolism, so their bodies don’t use energy quickly. This slow metabolism helps conserve energy but also makes them feel more sluggish and sleepy.

Sloth on a rock.

Fact 8: Sloths have no body odor!

Sloths do not have body odor because they don’t sweat or have sweat glands. No odor helps them stay protected from predators trying to sniff out prey.

So, what do sloths smell like?

They smell like the trees of the rainforests and jungles.

Sloth by the water.

Fact 9: Sloths grow algae!

Sloths move very slowly and spend most of their time hanging upside down in the trees. Because they move so slowly and stay in the same place for a long time, something special happens to their fur.

Their fur becomes a perfect place for algae to grow. Algae are tiny plants that love to grow in damp, shaded places—just like a sloth’s fur! When algae grow on a sloth’s fur, it turns their fur a greenish color.

Now, you might wonder why sloths let algae grow on them. Well, it’s helpful for them!

The green algae works as natural camouflage, helping sloths hide better in the trees and stay safe from animals that might want to eat them.

Sloths sometimes lick their fur; when they do, they get a little snack from the algae.

Swimming sloth

Fact 10: Sloths are great swimmers!

Sloths may move slowly on land, but they are great swimmers. In fact, sloths move three times faster in the water. They can move 44 feet per minute or .17 miles per hour, which isn’t that fast, but for a sloth, it’s rocket fast.

Sloths like water and will even drop down from trees directly into the water.

Sloth in a tree.

Fact 11: Sloths use the bathroom once a week!

Sloths come down from the trees to go to the bathroom about once a week.

During this time, they find a safe spot on the ground, dig a hole, and then cover it up after they are done.

This behavior helps them avoid attracting predators, as staying on the ground for extended periods can be risky for sloths due to their slow movements and vulnerability.

Sloths have a slow metabolism, and it takes them a while to digest their food, which causes them to have irregular bowel movements.

Adorable baby sloth.

Fact 12: Sloths have predators

Some of the sloth’s predators include jaguars, wild cats, eagles, snakes, and humans. Due to increasing populations, deforestation is causing sloths to lose their habitat.

Since sloths move very slowly, they must stay hidden from predators because they will never outrun them. Their only defense against predators are their claws.

Mother and baby sloth.

Fact 13: Baby Sloths attach to their mother’s belly after birth

Sloths are solitary animals and live alone unless they are mating.

Sloths typically give birth to just one baby per year; twins are rare.

Baby sloths are born with fur and with their eyes open.

Immediately after birth, they cling to their mother’s belly and stay attached to her for the first part of their life, up to 1 year.

They do this because their muscles develop in a way that causes them to want to hold on to something right from birth. This helps them live in trees.

Baby sloths feed on their mother’s milk, which provides them with nutrients for growth.

As they get older, their mother feeds them leaves. As they continue to grow, their mother teaches them how to get food, and they transition to a diet similar to that of adult sloths.

Baby sloths are known for their irresistible cuteness, small size, fluffy fur, and big, curious eyes. Clinging to their mother’s fur allows them to hitch a ride as she moves through the treetops.

Like all baby animals, baby sloths are vulnerable to predators. Their mothers fiercely protect them, and their natural camouflage helps keep them safe from potential threats in the dense rainforest canopy.

Mama and baby sloth.

Fact 14: An extinct species of sloth was the size of an elephant!

The megatherium was a species of sloth that lived during the Pleistocene epoch in South America 3.5 to 10 million years ago. These large ground sloths could be 20 feet long and weigh up to 4 tons.

When standing on their hind legs, they stood 12 feet tall!

We hope you enjoyed these sloth facts for kids. Looking to learn more? Check out our many animal facts at kidsplayandcreate.com.