Baby Sloths Do More Than Snooze All Day (Kind Of)

They are not lazy or couch potatoes! Sloths are a nocturnal species that spend 15 to 20 hours per day sleeping.  They become active about an hour after sunset until about two hours before sunrise. What about baby sloths? There is generally only one offspring per litter, and the young typically become independent at about a year to two-years-old.  

Sloths, however, have a problem. National Geographic, explains that these tree dwellers are in trouble,

"The six species that live in Central and South America are either endangered or declining fast due to people encroaching on their habitat."

At an animal refuge run by the U.S. nonprofit Kids Saving the Rainforest, we learn from National Geographic that abandoned baby sloths are being nursed and then released back into the wild.

Here are five facts about baby sloths that you probably did not know! These baby sloth pictures will steal your heart!

1. Sloths leave the nest at two years old.  

Baby Sloth

In the wild, sloths live with their parents for about one to two years. What's more adorable than this factoid?

2. They're very clingy 

Baby Sloth

Sloths have a long pregnancy, so the infants are already physically well-developed when they're born. They begin to eat solid foods as early as four days old.

According to the blog, Zooborns, 

"This means they are able to eat solid food right away. However, juveniles tend to stay with their mother for around 12 months before leaving their side." - they're a very 'clingy' species in general; to trees and to their mum."

And clingy or not, we could watch baby sloths learn to cling to just about anything for hours.

3. Male or female? 

Baby Sloth

There aren't a lot of differences between male and female baby sloths. Only a vet can tell the difference! They are considered a valuable member of the sloth community regardless of their sex and it can take up to a year before zookeepers actually know!

4. Big and strong

Check out this fact: they gain muscle strength by holding onto Mom. New infants build up the valuable muscles needed to climb easily through the tree-top branches just by hanging onto mom!  Their claws grow up to 4 inches in length. 

5.  Everything is done upside down

Baby Sloth

They do everything upside down, including eating, sleeping, mating and even giving birth. 

At The Memphis Zoo, this baby sloth gets weighed - too cute to not share.

If you're interested in learning more about conservation efforts, check out "Slothlove", as photographer Sam Trull brings us inside a sloth rehab center and sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica.

Sam Trull documents these baby sloths, talks about behavioral research and the dangerous threats that potentially harm this animal species.

Sloths are rainforest creatures! If you loved these facts and pictures then learn more about adult sloths and these regions by visiting the Sloth Institute of Costa Rica.

Did we miss any adorable facts about baby sloths? Please add in the comments below! 

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