Have you ever been accused of being a sloth? Above is a picture I took this week at the zoo: a sweet little sleeping sloth. Cute, yes? And there are good reasons that sloths move slowly. Very slowly.
It’s all about their metabolism and digestive process.
Sloths are classified as folivores as the bulk of their diet consists mostly of buds, tender shoots, and leaves, mainly of Cecropia trees. Some two-toed sloths have been documented as eating insects, small reptiles and birds as a small supplement to their diet. Yum!
Leaves, their main food source, provide very little energy or nutrition and do not digest easily. Sloths therefore have very large, specialized, slow-acting stomachs with multiple compartments in which symbiotic bacteria break down the tough leaves.
As much as two-thirds of a well-fed sloth’s body-weight consists of the contents of its stomach, and the digestive process can take a month or more to complete. Wikipedia.