One of the most common animals found in the rain forest of Costa Rica is the Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus)
From the same order of ant-eaters and armadillos, the Three-toed Sloth is a lazy animal who sleeps more than 15 hours a day. They are usually associated to the Cecropia tree, where is frequent to see the animal resting or hanging up side down. The sloth seems to like the leaves from Cecropia more than any other species of tree, but it is known that the cecropine, an alkaloid found in these leaves, as well as the excess of cellulose found on Cecropias could kill an animal with a very slow metabolism like the sloth. One of the reasons for this preference is that, since the sloth needs lot of hit in order to digest it’s food, and also, the cecropia tree has a weak trunk, this friendly mammal uses it for food, home and protection.
When they need to go to the bathroom, once a week, the three-toed sloth climbs down to the ground, digs a hole with it’s chunked tail, do whatever he has to do and, finally, covers it all with litter… then, it takes the whole day to go back up!
Three-toed sloth is eaten by jaguars, boa constrictor snakes and harpy eagles. Sometimes, while they are doing their needs on the ground, they are also attacked by coyotes, but this is not frequent. The sloth has a symbiosis with an algae, which covers it’s fur, giving them a kind of green or brownish color and working for camouflage up there. The algae grows fine on him, and sometimes the sloth is seen licking his fur, maybe getting some nutrients from the algae.