Saturday, July 2, 2011

Adapting with this animal - the Sloth!

In boyhood days I wondered how the Slender Loris lives with its slow movements. Later on, I viewed an animal that was more sluggish than Slender Loris and is having different and unusual body unlike that of other mammals. Luckily it lives on the tree tops escaping its predators like jaguar and eagles. I refer here only to this animal: Sloth (Bradypus variegatus, Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth).

Though it appears to be pitiable by its slow movements and appearance, it has been well created adapting to its habitats by the mother Nature. It has claws on its limbs that make it possible to hang upside down from tree branches. It eats leaves, sleeps and gives birth - all in its hanging down position!

Its foods are exclusively the tender leaves. Its digestion of these leaves is very very slow and is assisted greatly by symbiotic bacteria that are present in its guts. It has short flat head with big eyes on it. Body length is 60cms. Its hairs grow pointing away from the limbs unlike other mammals - an adaptation for its upside down hanging position. Its metabolic rate is also slower. But it is an efficient swimmer having more musculature than other mammals. Its another curious behaviour is that it descends down the tree to the ground once in a week to urinate and defaecate - on the same spot! These sloths are seen only in rain forests of Central and South Americas. They reproduce on the tree itself. The born infant clings to its mother's fur and moves on with it.
This wonderful sloth with all its curious adaptations reminds and advises us to adapt, alter or adjust with the changing world environment - to live on with it and with in it!

1 comment:

Emma Springfield said...

Today you have taught me about the sloth. What an interesting animal. The picture is a good view of what it looks like.

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