Hoffmann's Two-toed Sloth

These animals live in the rainforests of northern S. America as far south as Brazil and Bolivia, and into Central America as far north as Nicaragua. Unlike their three-toed cousins, they have only two digits on each forefoot. Like other sloths, this species lives a slow, nocturnal life, hanging from high branches.

The sloth's shaggy coat is made up of two types of fur. The short underfur is covered by long, thick guard hairs. The hairs vary in colour from brown to yellow, although the fur also has green tinges produced by bacteria living on the hairs.

When feeding, Hoffmann's two-toed sloth uses its long arms to pull branches within reach of the mouth. Its diet of leaves and fruit, which do not provide the sloth with large amounts of nutrients or energy. Consequently, it cannot rely on summoning the energy to run from danger. Instead, it hides by staying perfectly still during the day. As in all the sloths, the hair shafts of this species have a long groove that collects blue-green algae, which makes the hairs appear green. The green hair adds to a motionless sloth's camouflage, helping it to blend in with the foliage. If the camouflage fails to prevent attack from harpy eagles, jaguars, or other predators, the sloth may fight back with its claws

It has been suggested that the sloth may also gain nutrients from the algae, obtained either by absorption through the skin or by licking the hair.

Distribution: C. America and northern S. America. There are two distinct populations: the first extends from Nicaragua to Venezuela, the second ranges from Peru to southwestern Brazil and central Bolivia.

Habitat: Tropical forests.

Food: Leaves, twigs and fruit.

Size: 54 - 90 cm (21.5 - 36 in); 4 - 8.5 kg (8.75 - 18.75 lb).

Maturity: 4 years.

Breeding: Single young born approximately every 18 months.

Life span: 12 years.

Status: Unknown.