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West Indian Sloths and Two-Toed Tree Sloths: Megalonychidae

Hoffman's Two-toed Sloth (choloepus Hoffmanni): Species Account

Physical characteristics: Hoffmann's two-toed sloths are about 2 feet (60 centimeters) long and weigh up to 18 pounds (8 kilograms). They have coarse fur that is tan colored or grayish brown. Hair color is lighter on the face. Algae adds a green color to the shaggy fur.

Geographic range: Hoffman's two-toed sloths live in Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

Habitat: Hoffmann's sloths live in the tree canopies, near the top of trees in rainforests and cloud forests. They often stay in liana Hoffmann's two-toed sloth spends its time in the tree canopy, near the top of the trees in rainforests and cloud forests. (Tom Brakefield/Bruce Coleman Inc. Reproduced by permission.) (lee-AN-uh) tangles, twisted vines that provide shelter. The tangle also serves as an alarm. If a predator is approaching, the leaves move and the sloth is alerted about a possible attack.

Diet: Hoffmann's sloths eat leaves, shoots, flowers, and fruit.

Behavior and reproduction: Two-toed sloths are nocturnal, and do not become active until about an hour after the sun sets. Like other sloths, Hoffmann's sloth is solitary. However, a group of sloths may live in one tree. These groups are formed of only female sloths. Males stay on their own unless they are breeding.

After mating, the female sloth gives birth to one offspring in about eleven and a half months. Newborn sloths weigh from 12 to 16 ounces (340 to 454 grams). The mother carries the young sloth on her stomach. Since the offspring eats the same leaves as its mother, the young sloth develops a taste for those leaves. At the age of five months, the young sloth may feed on its own. However, it remains close to its mother for about a year.

Young and adult sloths use their claws and teeth as defenses against predators like harpy eagles, jaguars, and ocelots.

Hoffman's two-toed sloths and people: Sloths are known to heal quickly, so studying them could help scientists understand how to help people heal more quickly.

Conservation status: There is not enough information to determine whether Hoffmann's sloth faces a threat of extinction, according to IUCN. ∎



Attenborough, David. The Life of Mammals. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002.

Squire, Ann O. Anteaters, Sloths, and Armadillos. New York: Franklin Watts, 1999.

Web sites:

Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/index.html (accessed on June 30, 2004).

Giacalone, Jacalyn. "Sloths." Mammal Directory. http://www.csam.montclair.edu/ceterms/mammals/sloths.html (accessed on June 30, 2004).

Walker's Mammals of the World Online. http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/walkers_mammals_of_the_world (accessed on June 30, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsWest Indian Sloths and Two-Toed Tree Sloths: Megalonychidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Two-toed Tree Sloths And People, Hoffman's Two-toed Sloth (choloepus Hoffmanni): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVA