About Two-Toed Sloths

Two-toed sloths, native to the tropical forests of South America and Central America, are fascinating animals. Calling them “two-toed” is a bit misleading because they actually have two digits on their forelimbs and three digits on their hindlimbs; each digit has a 3-4-inch curved claw. As is typical of sloths, they have a short neck and a short, flat head, a snub nose, very small ears and large dark eyes. Sloths are known as the world’s slowest mammals.

They’re Slow but Strong

Two-toed sloths weigh from 8 to 17 pounds (about the size of a small dog). However, they have very strong limbs and are three times stronger than humans. As soon as they are born, they can lift themselves upwards with one arm.

They Like to Hang Around

Sloths are unable to walk, so they move around by pulling themselves through the trees. Special tendons in their hands and feet make it possible for sloths to hang upside down for long periods. In fact, they spend most of their time hanging upside down.

When climbing down from trees to look for food or to defecate, sloths often go down head-first, causing them to sometimes fall to the ground. However, sloths can fall 100 feet without getting injured.

They’re Nocturnal

Sloths sleep 15 to 18 hours during daytime and wake up at night to search for food. The locking mechanism of their tendons enable them to sleep hanging from a tree branch.

Sloths lack cone cells in their eyes, so they cannot see well in dim light and are completely blind in bright light. Their poor eyesight, coupled with their slow metabolism, is thought to be the reason for their slow movement – it wouldn’t make sense for them to move quickly when they can barely see where they’re going.

Their Fur Hosts an Ecosystem

Sloths are called a “walking ecosystem” (although they can’t actually walk) because algae, moths, ticks and beetles reside in the fine fur under the sloth’s coat of long coarse hair.

The sloth’s unusually coarse hair, which camouflages them from predators, is also a nice home for algae and fungi, and invertebrates like ticks, beetles and moths. In the wild, sloths have been found hosting hundreds of moths and beetles in their coats at the same time.

They Like It Warm

Sloths are warm-blooded, but they have the slowest metabolic rate of any mammal. Consequently, they are unable to control their body temperature, which can vary by 11 degrees. They depend on a warm environment to help maintain their normal body temperature of 74 and 92 degrees.

Their slow metabolism also means it takes a long time for their stomachs to digest their high-fiber diets. If they get too cold, their sluggish digestive system slows down even more, or can even stop completely, which could be life-threatening.

In the wild, when their temperature gets too low, they will lay in the sun to warm up. In a zoo setting, caretakers make sure that their sloth residents have a temperature-controlled, forest-like enclosure.  

Refund, Reschedule, and Cancellation Policy

You have three (3) days after purchase to cancel your booking and request a refund for any reason. After that three day period, we do not offer refunds for cancellations.

You have three (3) days after purchase to reschedule your booking. Rescheduling is based off of availability. After that three day window, if you would like to change/reschedule your booking, you must fill out a Rescheduling Form. A $25 dollar fee will apply.

In the event of inclement weather and we are unable to host encounters, Otter Experience Park will notify you one day prior in order to reschedule your visit.

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Sunday - 11AM-6PM
Monday - 11AM-6PM
Tuesday - CLOSED
Wednesday - CLOSED
Thursday - CLOSED
Friday - 11AM-6PM
Saturday - 11AM-6PM