We can dive even deeper into all things sloth, and the various types of this creature, past and present! Two toed, three toed, tree sloth or ground sloth, and how big they all grew to be can be found right here!
The sloth's taxonomic suborder is Folivora, sometimes also called Phyllophaga or Tardigrada. The first two names both mean "leaf-eaters"; derived from Latin and Greek, respectively. Names for the animals used by tribes in Ecuador include ritto, rit, and ridette, mostly forms of the word "sleep", "eat", and "dirty" from Tagaeri tribe of Huaorani.
- Family Bradypodidae (three-toed sloths)
The three-toed sloths are tree-living mamals from South and Central America. They are the only members of the genus Bradypus and the family Bradypodidae.
- Family Megalonychidae (two-toed sloths and extinct ground sloths)
Megalonchiade is a group of sloths including the extinct Megalonyx and the living two toed sloths. Megalonychids first appeared in the early Oligocene, about 35 million years ago, in Southern Argentina (Patagonia), and spread as far as the Antilles by the early Miocene.
- Family Megatheriidae (extinct ground sloths)
Megatheriidae is a family of extinct ground sloths that lived from approximately 23 mya - 11,000 years ago, existing for approximately 22.89 million years.
- Family Mylodontidae (extinct ground sloths)
This family of ground sloths is related to other families of extinct ground slothts, Megatheriidae and Nothrotheriidae.
- Family Nothrotheriidae (extinct ground sloths)
Nothrotheriids appeared in the Tortonian, some 11.6 million years ago, in South America. The group includes the comparatively slightly built Nothrotheriops, which reached a length of about 2.75 meters.
For the most part, a sloth's life revolves around sleeping and eating in their tree homes. The only times these mammals leave their tree is to use the bathroom and to take a swim. Sloths in captivity sleep from 15 to 20 hours per day, which can leave them very little time for social activities. Sloths in the wild, though, sleep about as much as humans, according to research by the Planck Institute for Ornithology in Starnberg, Germany.
After around nine hours of sleep, the sloth still doesn't make an attempt at getting friendly with others. They live solo lives. The closest a sloth gets to social time is sleeping in the same tree with another sloth.
The two-toed sloth is slightly bigger than the three-toed sloth, though they share many of the same features. They are about the size of a medium-sized dog at around 23 to 27 inches (58 to 68 cm) and 17.5 to 18.75 pounds (about 8 kilograms).
Thousands of years ago, sloths were much bigger, according to the San Diego Zoo. Ancient sloths could grow to be as large as an elephant. They roamed North America and became extinct around 10,000 years ago.