Pale-throated sloth perched in a tree on Sloth Island, Essequibo River, Guyana
© Suzi Eszterhas/Minden Picture
Life in the slow lane. Meet the slowest flirt in the animal world
We hate to break it to you, but the affable grin on this pale-throated sloth is probably not evidence of its laid-back lifestyle. Our adorable tree hugger looks content thanks to its facial mask and the natural shape of its mouth. Spotting one of these slow-moving solitary animals takes a little skill. The thick outer layer of a sloth's coat is an ideal place for green algae to grow, forming a natural camouflage in the canopy of tropical forests here in northern South America.
If you do spot a pale-throated sloth, it is likely it will be enjoying a simple meal of leaves, tree limbs and buds. Because sloths don't have incisors, they spend most of their waking hours smacking their lips together to 'chew' their food. This would drive most animals to starvation (if not culinary madness), but the sloth's metabolism is so slow that it has evolved to survive on less food.
Let's take a cue from the sloth and slow down our own hectic lives during International Sloth Day on 20 October. Who knows, we might find smiles creeping across our own faces.