The two species of Choloepus (two-toed sloth) have two toes on their forelimbs, and three on their hind limbs. While the gentle Bradypus (three-toed sloth) eats only leaves of a few tree species, and are notoriously difficult to maintain in zoos, captive Choloepus enthusiastically eat all sorts of vegetables, as well as leaf-eater primate chow, and easily live for decades in captivity. Of the two species of Choloepus, both are found in South America, but only Hoffman’s occurs in Central America as well.
Almost all mammals have seven cervical vertebrae (the bones in the neck); manatees have six, two-toed sloths have five and three-toed sloths have nine. They also have no gall-bladder nor appendix, and cannot regulate their body temperature. Their teeth all look like molars, with no incisors. Throughout their Central and South American range, they live entirely upon leaves. Because the DWA provides a constant supply of Cecropia leaves, our male, “Leno”, has thrived here since 2005, setting the captive age record outside of Tropical America.
This enormous relative of sloths and armadillos is found all the way from Honduras to Argentina, but has gone extinct in several parts of this range, and is considered vulnerable to extinction everywhere. More than 250 are maintained in more than 100 zoos around the world, where they breed frequently. True to its name, it rips apart the nests of ants and termites with its powerful claws, then gathers them into its toothless jaws with its long, muscular tongue. In zoos it is fed protein-rich diets prepared in blenders.