Sloths are one of nature’s most unusual animals. They almost seem like a mistake, but they are actually highly evolved, just not in the ways we usually associate with those words. They’re not an incredibly speedy predator like a cheetah. They’re not incredibly smart like a dolphin or, you know, human. Their evolution led to some pretty specific features.
Their most notable one is their massive claws, which curl inwards and help them to cling to tree branches with little effort. Even their fur grows differently from other mammals, growing upward toward the head instead of downward toward the limbs. And of course, their uniquely slow movements. This is tied to their diet, which consists mainly of plant matter that doesn’t happen to provide a tremendous amount of calories and is also difficult to digest. The body weight of a healthy sloth is typically almost 70 percent food in their stomach. If it were the same in humans, I’d weigh another hundred pounds!
And that digestive system, whoa. I mentioned the food is hard to digest? Well sloths have an ingenious solution to that. And their solution couldn’t be more slothlike. Their digestive process takes nearly a month to complete.
In other words, sloths are simply astounding creatures that do simply astounding things, they just require a little more patience to appreciate. One thing that we can all appreciate is footage like this, of an adorable rescued sloth, deciding to forgo a tasty snack in favor and the world’s slowest, cutest hug.