Pale-throated Sloth, Bradypus tridactylus

The pale-throated sloth (Bradypus tridactylus) is a species of three-toed sloth that can be found in northern areas of South America. Its range includes Guyana, French Guiana, some areas of Brazil, and western areas of Colombia and Venezuela. This species can only be found in tropical rainforests. It is not thought to hold any subspecies and is closely related to the brown-throated sloth, which shares some areas of its range.

The pale-throated sloth differs in size depending upon the sex, with males reaching an average body length between eighteen and twenty-two inches with a weight of up to thirteen pounds and females reaching an average body length between twenty and thirty inches and a weight of up to  fourteen pounds. Males and females are dark grey on most of their bodies with dark patches of fur occurring along the back, hips, and shoulders. Males can be distinguished by their smaller size as well as the yellowish orange patch of fur on the back, which holds a black stripe down the middle. The thick, cracked guard hairs that cover the softer fur of this species hold many types of green algae, which give the sloths a greenish color and provide them with camouflage. This species is able to turn its head 330° backwards and forwards, showing extreme flexibility.

Like other three-toed sloths, the pale-throated sloth is solitary in nature and will spend the majority of its life in trees. It will suspend itself on branches using its strong claws and is even known to sleep while suspended. This species will sleep for up to eighteen hours a day and will climb down to the ground occasionally to defecate. Breeding occurs in the trees and after six months, females give birth to one young. Young will attach themselves to their mother’s stomach for the first month of their lives and are weaned shortly after one month of age. Sexual maturity is reached at about three years of age. This species appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern.”

Image Caption: Diorama specimen. Credit: G.dallorto/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5 IT)