Sloths deserve some credit. They are not fast, they are not ferocious, they are let’s be honest a little ugly and yet they have taken the world by storm. These amazing creatures are loved by so many but why? What is so amazing about the sloth? Read on to find out.
They break the rule of seven
A strange rule that most of us do not even know we abide by, the rule of seven states that most mammals have seven cervical vertebrae. The sloth does not. The two-toed sloth can have 5 to 7 cervical vertebrae while the three-toed sloth usually has 8 or 9. There are over 5,000 known mammals on this Earth and nearly all of them have 7 cervical vertebrae. The blue whale, the largest known mammal, and the bat, the smallest known mammal both have 7 vertebrae.
How did the sloth successfully evolve to have a different number of vertebrae while so many others have failed? It remains a mystery. It does mean that the sloth can turn its head 270 degrees, which is pretty cool.
They are fickle when it comes to love
Nothing beats a mother’s love, right? Not in the case of sloths. When a sloth is born, mother sloths are very nurturing and caring, with the baby clinging to the sloth for most of the early months. However, if a baby sloth loses its grip and falls to the forest floor, a parent sloth will not rescue it. I know I said that sloths were cool, but this is just cold! Scientists believe that mother sloths think that if they try to retrieve a baby sloth they will not be able to get down to the ground and back to safety before a predator arrives. In addition, some scientists suggest that if a baby falls, mothers think it must be a defect and have no interest in keeping it. Harsh momma sloth, harsh!
They can hold their breath underwater for 40 minutes!
Sloths are known for being a little slow and while this is true it can work to their advantage. Sloths are not just slow movers but have an incredibly slow metabolism. They have the ability to slow their heart rate down to less than a third its normal rate. Not only this but sloths actually travel faster in water than they do on land (not difficult I know), traveling up to three times faster!
These are just three amazing reasons why sloths are cool. Why do you love sloths?