This is one of those animals that visitors at Uakari Lodge always ask if it is easy to spot. The answer is: yes, thanks to our local guides
The three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) is one of those animals that almost all tourists who come to the inn know that occurs in the area and always ask if it is easy to see. In fact, the animal is not uncommon, the challenge is to find it among the fig trees (Ficus spp.) And cepropias (Cecropia spp.) Since its camouflage is really very good (fortunately the challenge does not extend to local guides, who has an impressively sharp vision, whoever has visited us can confirm what I’m saying!).
How do these animals protect themselves from their predators?
Getting hidden in the environment is so important for sloths because it is the main defense they have against predators, which are mainly the jaguar (Panthera onca) and the Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyia). As you can imagine, running away is not an option for sloths, they move very little (in fact due to the folivorous diet they spend almost 80% of the day at rest!) And when they do, they seem to be in slow motion. And although they have long claws, they have no protective function, but support, and it is because of them that animals are able to hang from the branches of trees, usually with their backs to the ground. Incidentally, a very curious adaptation of the sloths is the direction of hair birth, from the ventral region towards the back, thus facilitating the flow of rainwater through the body.
I very much hope that we can safely return to our activities soon so that I can see and show these amazing animals in their natural environment again. After all, it is not just the guests who create expectations with sightings of wildlife, it is not uncommon to see me excited during a tour, especially when I see an animal or behavior that I have not yet seen. About the sloths, I really want to register a baby sloth with a puppy (babies stay attached to their mothers until they are 6 months old) and I also want to see the other sloth that occurs in the reserve, the sloth (Choloepus didactylus)! And you who haven’t visited us yet, what sighting would you very much like to have in Mamirauá? Pros who have already come, what was the most memorable meeting?
Credits (images and text): Cynthia Lebrão