- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Superorder: Xenarthra
- Order: Pilosa
- Suborder: Folivora
- Families: Bradypodidae and Choloepodidae
17 Sloth Facts for Kids
- A sloth is a tree dwelling mammal that is a member of the Folivora order.
- Sloths are known for their slow movements and hanging motionless from trees.
- Sloths move slow due to their very slow metabolism and have a very low energy diet.
- Sloths can be found in the rainforests of Central and South America.
- The two-toed sloth species are omnivores and have a diet of fruits, leaves, insects and some small reptiles.
- The three-toed sloth species are herbivores and feed exclusively on the leaves of only a few trees.
- The average weight of a sloth is between 7.9 and 17 pounds but can vary by species.
- The average length of a sloth is between 24 and 31 inches but can vary by species.
- A sloth can live on average between 10 and 16 years.
- Sloths can see in color and have the ability hear, but their visual and hearing acuity are poor. Sloths depend on their sense of touch and smell to locate food.
- There is a total of six living species of sloths between two different families.
- The six living species of sloths are divided into two groups, the two-toed sloths and the three-toed sloths.
- There are two living species of two-toed sloths and they belong to the Choloepodidae family and the Choloepus genus.
- There are four living species of three-toed sloths and they belong to the Bradypodidae family and the Bradypus genus.
- The two living two-toed sloth species are the Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus) and the Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni).
- The four living three-toed sloth species are the Brown-throated three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus), the Maned three-toed sloth (Bradypus torquatus), the Pale-throated three-toed sloth (Bradypus tridactylus) and the Pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus).
- It’s estimated that the extinct ancestors of sloths were the size of an elephant, like the Megatherium.
A picture of a pale-throated three-toed sloth (Bradypus tridactylus).
Credit: Konrad Wothe
A picture of a brown-throated three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus).
Credit: Canopy Family / Flickr
A picture of a pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus).
Additional Resources about the Sloth
- Sloth – WWF – Find more sloth facts and information on the WWF website.
- Sloths: The World’s Slowest Mammals – Learn about our planet’s slowest mammal, the sloth, on the Live Science website.
- Why do sloths move so slowly? – An article on the BBC website explaining why sloths move so slowly.