S-l-o-w down, take a seat, and dig into some amazing sloth facts for kids! These fun facts about sloths are sure to delight kids (and adults!) of all ages.
Sloths are such fascinating creatures! They spark curiosity and conversation, making them a perfect topic for a school lesson, preschool circle time, a visit to the zoo, or a family book at home.
One of our favorite sources of animal facts is the Wild Animal Babies book by the creator of Preschool Inspirations. Our favorite sloth friend is featured for the letter “S”! The adorable book is suitable for all ages and combines fun animal facts with charming illustrations. Children will delight in seeing baby animals interact with their parents and siblings in their natural habitats while they also learn the alphabet.
Sloth Facts for Kids
Despite their name, sloths are anything but lazy. They may be slow, but they have survived for millennia because of this unique adaptation! “Hang around” and dive into some fun sloth facts for kids!
Types of Sloths
There are 2 types of sloths: two-toed and three-toed sloths. One of the easiest ways to tell them apart is that the three-toed sloth looks like it has a smile painted on its face.
Both types have two toes on each hind leg; the difference lies in the number of toes on their front limbs.
Even though they look similar, two-toed and three-toed sloths are actually quite different from each other!
For example, both types of sloths are excellent swimmers. But three-toed sloths have two more neck vertebrae, or bones in their neck, than the two-toed sloth does. This allows the three-toed sloth to turn their heads almost completely around in the water. This means that they’re able to keep their heads above water as they watch for predators.
Another difference between sloth types is how long the moms are pregnant with their babies. Two-toed sloths are pregnant for almost a year before giving birth, and three-toed sloths are only pregnant for 6-9 months.
Additionally, two-toed sloths have a total of forty-six ribs, but three-toed sloths have only twenty-eight. That’s almost half the amount!
Three-toed sloths also have a small tail, while two-toed sloths do not.
Sloths move very slowly, but they don’t sleep all day (looking at you, Giant Panda)! Contrary to popular belief, sloths in the wild only sleep about 10 hours each day.
Moving slowly helps the sloths conserve energy and remain hidden from predators such as jaguars and harpy eagles.
They move, on average, no more than 125 feet per day. When they’re on the ground (which is rare, except to poop and to mate), they crawl about 1 foot per minute.
Check out this fun video from National Georgaphic Kids. A sloth and koala “battle” to see who is the laziest! It also has some more fun facts about sloths.
Sloths are arboreal, meaning that they spend most of their time in trees. Their fingers and toes have 4-inch-long claws that act as hooks, allowing them to firmly grip tree branches.
Sloths spend most of their lives hanging upside down. They even give birth upside down.
They mainly eat leaves, although sometimes they’ll eat fruit and insects. It takes a sloth up to 30 days to digest ONE leaf! They have a large, 4-chambered stomach which is always full.
Sloths risk their lives to poop. Once a week, a sloth makes the long trip down its tree to the rainforest floor, leaving it vulnerable to predators that may come along. When it reaches the base of the tree, it does a special ‘dance’ which involves wiggling its hindquarters around and hollowing out a sort of ‘toilet’ in the ground. The sloth then releases about 1/3 of its body weight in poop.
Sloth fur can sometimes appear green, which gives it fantastic camouflage in the jungle canopy. It’s green because cracks in a sloths’ fur provide a wonderful home for algae and fungi!
The sloth’s fur is also home to a variety of insects, including the sloth moth. This moth ONLY lays its eggs, grows, and lives in sloth fur. A single sloth can have over 900 sloth moths and beetles living in its fur at any given moment!
Time for some sloth jokes now!
Q: What’s a sloth’s favorite song?
A: Don’t Hurry, Be Happy
Q: Why hasn’t the sloth gone extinct?
A: It didn’t plan on going anywhere.
Thanks for joining us and learning interesting facts about sloths! If you and your kids are hungry for more animal information, check out these other posts: