Sloths Like It Hot

Sloths Like It Hot: ambient temperature modulates food intake in the brown-throated sloth (Bradypus Variegatus)

During this study we measured exact levels of food intake in three-fingered sloths and investigated how these levels were affected by changes in the ambient temperature. We discovered that sloths actually eat surprisingly little on a daily basis (73.5 g dry weight of leaves per day) – that is three times less than the amount eaten by the similarly sized howler monkey!

Furthermore, we found that the amount of food consumed is unbelievably consistent between individuals. Over the course of 5 months, my three study sloths consumed a total of 61.3%, 60.0% and 61.3% of food provided respectively – less than a 1.5% difference!

Finally, we discovered that the levels of food intake actually increase on hotter days, which is in stark contrast to what we expect for most other mammals (they tend to eat more on colder days). Sloths really do seem to do everything backwards! If you would like more information, you can read and download our full publication here.

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©Rebecca Cliffe