The Natural Strategy Employed by Slow-Moving Sloths to Conserve the Most Energy Possible

Sloth Eating

In an adorably informative Ted Ed lesson animated by Anton Bogaty, educator Kenny Coogan of Critter Companions talks about the first sloth that arrived in the United States, the manner in which sloths helped to spread avocado seeds and why these fascinating tree-dwelling herbivores move so very slowly.

But sloths, especially three-toed sloths, rely on leaves almost exclusively. They’ve evolved finely tuned strategies for coping with this restricted diet. First, they extract as much energy from their food as possible. …use as little energy as possible…use less energy to keep themselves warm. These physical and behavioral adaptations minimize the sloth’s energy expenditure, or metabolic rate. Three-toed sloths have the slowest metabolism of any mammal.