Sloths: Sloths live in trees, where they often hang upside down from their hooked claws, only rarely descending to the ground. They specialize on eating leaves and have a multi-chambered stomach, reminiscent of a ruminant, to aid digestion.
Three-toed Sloth
Bradypus tridactylus Three-toed Sloth image
Makushi name: Kuwaran
Creole name: Sloth
Size: body=60 cm; weight=6 kg
Description: Hangs below branch. Striking markings: head mostly yellow with a dark nose and dark crown, body dark grey-brown with irregular offwhite blotches. Forelegs longer than hind legs; feet fully haired to claws, three long claws on each foot. Short stumpy tail. Male has a patch of short orange fur marked with black spots on the middle of its back. Eyeshine very faint, reddish.
Activity: Nocturnal and diurnal; arboreal, slow-moving. Descends to the ground about once a week to defecate, digging a small hole with the stumpy tail. On the ground it cannot support its own weight and moves by dragging itself along; swims well.
Habits: Solitary. May sleep hanging below a branch or curled up in the crotch of a tree. It allows its body temperature to fall at night and in the morning moves to an exposed branch to warm up in the sun. It eats leaves from a large variety of tree species, but is often seen in Congo palm. It is usually silent and is easily overlooked, but it can whistle. This species is extremely docile and will not attempt to bite or scratch even when handled.
Habitat: Mature and secondary forest.
Signs: Look for a mottled grey ball on or under a branch.
Status: This species has not been recorded from Iwokrama due to its secretive nature, but it is probably locally common.
Two-toed Sloth
Choloepus didactylus Two-toed Sloth image
Makushi name: Kuwaran, KÓwaran, Tenupi
Size: body=60 cm; weight=6 kg
Description: Hangs below branch. Fur long and shaggy, brownish, darker on limbs than body. Limbs long, taper to narrow feet with bare pads; two large claws on front foot, three on hind foot. No tail. Snout piglike with large, widely spaced nostrils. Young sloth is dark brown. Eyeshine dull reddish.
Activity: Mainly nocturnal but may be active by day; arboreal, usually in the canopy. Travels more quickly than three-toed sloth. Descends to the ground about once a week to defecate; on ground it moves awkwardly on all fours; swims well.
Habits: Solitary. It sleeps by day in a vine tangle or shaded crotch of a tree. It moves on thin vines and lianas and seldom ascends large tree trunks. The diet consists of leaves of a variety of trees, also fruit and buds. It is usually silent and easily overlooked, but fighting males can emit piercing screams. When disturbed it is more aggressive than the Three-toed Sloth and will slash with the foreclaws or bite.
Habitat: Mature and secondary forest.
Signs: Look for a brown ball on a tree crotch, often easier to see at night as it descends to feed at a lower level.
Status: Not yet recorded from Iwokrama but probably locally common. Less common than Three-toed Sloth.

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