Sloths have a short end in many ways. Who wants to be named after a deadly crime? Nor is it merely an English quirk to call them “sloths”; Other languages have names around terms like “lazy”, “slow” and “sleep”. The three-toed sloth’s scientific name, Bradypus, means “slow feet” in Greek. Only their cute, slightly confused looks worthy of an Internet meme can save them from being written off as completely useless.
But sloths are much more than just small bags of laziness. Here’s a fact about sloths to change their bizarre lethargy in the animal kingdom.
Surely an animal that rarely moves more than 40 meters (130 ft) in a day must live a carefree and positively Zen lifestyle? Alas, nature is red in tooth and claw, and the sloth makes a tempting target for many predators. As the video above shows, even when in their arboreal homes, they can fall prey to pumas. It gets worse, though. Their jungle home leaves them open to attack by Harpy eagles, which feed mostly on sloths.
But it’s not just fearsomely large animals that prey on sloths. In one case, a small spectacled owl was found to have killed and eaten a sloth. This is remarkable, because sloths are twice as large and four times as heavy as spectacled owls. While sloths do have their long claws and may swipe at a predator, their low muscle mass makes such an action little more than a warning. How can a creature such as the sloth have evolved to be so seemingly defenseless?