Description: The shaggy fur of the Hoffman’s two- toed sloth is grayish brown with a paler face that has shorter hair. The fur on the shoulders and top of the head are the darkest in color. The coarse, long wavy hair that covers the body, varies in color from blonde to dark brown. The coat often has a greenish cast, produced by algae growth on the skin during the wet seasons. The fur curves from the stomach to the back, in order to allow for rain to run off. The mouth has only a slight smile under a protruding muzzle-like or pig-like nose. The eyes are large and may have dark circles around them. The ears are small. The fore and hind limbs are long and almost equal in length. The forelimbs have two hooked claws, the hind limbs have three. Most mammals have only seven neck bones (cervical vertebrate); the two-toed sloth has six or seven (less than the three-toed sloth) and is said to be able to rotate its head 1800.
Size: Adults are medium-sized animals; body length between 1.8 – 2.4 feet (0.6 -0.7 m); weight around 18 pounds (8 kg).
Behavior: They are solitary nocturnal and arboreal animals that eat, sleep, mate and give birth while hanging from a branch. They are more active than the three-toed sloth. Like the three-toed sloth, they select trees with exposure to the sun in order to thermoregulate their body by more exposure to the sun when cold and moving down into the branches when hot. This life style is interrupted by an infrequent trip to the base of their tree to urinate and defecate. Due to the anatomy of their limbs, sloths have difficulty standing and are unable to walk like most mammals. On the ground they move by dragging themselves with their front limbs. They are good swimmers, with an overarm stroke.
Diet: They eat leaves, shoots, flowers, fruits and possibly even insects. They have a large, multi- chambered stomach containing bacteria that allows for fermentation and break down of cellulose into starches and sugars. It is reported that food may be digested for a month before moving into the short intestine.
Senses: More active at night, they use their acute sense of smell and touch to forage for food.
Communication: Reports of “hisses” when frightened; “high-pitched” screams signaling mating season.
Reproduction: Females reach sexual maturity at 3.5 years; males are sexually mature between the ages of 4 and 5. Gestation for two-toed sloths is about 11.5 months. They have only one offspring each time and will reproduce again in 15 – 16 months. Baby will nurse on its mother’s stomach for about six weeks.
Habitat/range: Found in tropical forests in Central and South America, from Nicaragua to the Equator.
Status: IUCN Least Concern (LC); CITES Appendix III. Included in AZA Species Survival Plan®(SSP). This program cooperatively manages specific, and typically threatened or endangered populations.