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  • Sloths might just be the most adorable creatures in the world, but how much do you know about the furry little guys?

     

    Remember when actress Kristen Bell had a meltdown over her first encounter with a sloth back in 2012? Well, everyone has been crazy about them ever since – and the world has even just celebrated International Sloth Day in their honour (yep, that’s actually a thing). In honour of our little mates, the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica has now shared some photos of their cuddliest residents, along with a bunch of facts that you really ought to know. Prepare yourself for cuteness overload…

    1. Same names, different animals

    Sloth Sanctuary 6_Baby Bradyps_141015

    Photos © R. Richardson

    There are two different types of sloths, the Bradypus and the Choloepus. They might both belong to the sloth family, but they’re completely separate animals and have been so for 64,000,000 years. A sloth-expert can often tell them apart by their physiology, diet and behaviours. But if you’re not a pro, an easy way of spotting the difference is the Bradypus often has the distinctive eye mask and small nose while Choloepus will have a hairless, snout-like nose.

    2. They’re super bendy

    Sloth Sanctuary 1_Buttercup_141015

    Photos © R. Richardson

    Bradypus sloths have nine cervical vertebrae, allowing them to rotate their heads up to 300 degrees. They do this so they can spot any predators without having to adjust their body position, so they can save precious energy. This photo is of Buttercup, who is Sloth Nº1 and the inspiration behind the creation of the Sanctuary more than 23 years ago.

    3. They are total gym bunnies

    Sloth Sanctuary 3_Bradyp dangling_141015

    Photos © R. Richardson

    In the wild, sloth babies learn survival strategies from their mothers for about a year before independence. At the Sloth Sanctuary, rescued orphaned sloths develop their climbing skills on the Sloth Sanctuary’s rope jungle gym. One rep, two reps…

    4. They’re all about the fingers, not the toes

    Sloth Sanctuary 4_Choloep climb_141015

    Photos © R. Richardson

    Many people count sloths’ toes to tell them apart, when really they should be counting their fingers. This is because all sloths have three toes, but the Bradypus variegatus have three fingers while Choloepus hoffmanni have two. This is why at the Sloth Sanctuary, they are termed ‘three-fingered/two-fingered,’ rather than ‘three-toed/two-toed.’

    5. They’re right snoozers

    Sloth Sanctuary 5_Choloep hammock_141015

    Photos © R. Richardson

    As part of the Sloth Sanctuary’s enrichment program, small hammocks have been introduced in the sloths’ sleeping areas. Choloepus took to them right away and love napping and snacking in hammocks. Curiously, Bradypus want nothing to do with them.

    6. All aboard the sloth bus!

    Sloth Sanctuary 2_Baby Bradyp_141015

    Photos © R. Richardson

    At the Sloth Sanctuary, the easiest way to transport sloths to dinner or the climbing area is in a plastic tote. They seem to know that food, fun, exercise and social time is about to happen when they board their ‘bus’.

    Now these photos and facts of sloths have whet your appetite, why not try some of our sloth-focused excursions? 

    Sloth Sanctuary 7_Tiny Bradyp climb_141015

    Photos © R. Richardson

     

    Florida – Wild About Florida

    Sloths are just the tip of the wildlife iceberg on this trip through the Florida Everglades and Wildlife park. You’ll travel through 100,000 acres of protected swamps and marshes ticking off gators, eagles and exotic birds. Then it’s on to Wild Florida Wildlife park for an exclusive guided tour of 100 native and exotic animals, including sloths, alligators and porcupines.

    Tenerife, Spain – Loro Parque

    This acclaimed wildlife park is home to tigers, the biggest tortoises you’ve ever seen, and a sloth exhibit where you’ll see them in their natural habitat. It also features the World’s biggest penguinarium, a dolphin show, and an impressive sealife section.

    Brazil – Rainforest Jeep Tour

    Brazil’s Botanical Garden is the first stop on this excursion. It’s been around since 1817 and hosts exotic plants and rare species from all over the world including Imperial Palm Trees and huge water lilies. Then its on to Tijuca Atlantic Forest – the largest urban forest in the world, where tropical animals such as monkeys, exotic birds and sloths call home.

    Costa Rica – Tortuguero

    Only accessible by boat, Tortuguero is an exclusive haven for birds, monkeys, sloths and kamen crocs who you’ll see in their natural habitat. It also boasts 35 kilometres of beach and a network of lagoons, rivers and islands. You’ll get the chance to stay on this area of Costa Rica’s coast for 2 nights, so you can fully explore the area and tick off sightings of all the animals. While in Costa Rica you should also visit the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica and find out more about all of the amazing work they do.

    Are you ready to spot some sloths for yourself? Book your holiday to Costa Rica now.