Why do people love sloths? (Duh, they're cute!)

While most people default to cats and dogs as some of the cutest creatures on earth, WE LOVE SLOTHS! We think they are cute and very interesting animals.However, some people think they are weird (can’t you be weird and cute at the same time?) or even ugly. So, let’s go over what we love about sloths, but let’s look at some of people’s criticism of our favorite jungle buddies.

First of all, when the sloth was “discovered” by Europeans they observed its chill behavior and named it “preguiça” which an English writer named Samuel Purchas translated as “sloth”, a word previously associated primarily with being one of the 7 deadly sins; not exactly a compliment nor is it fair to name such a peaceful create after a sin. (Pride is also one of the deadly sins, and that’s the name for a group of lions, while a group of crows is a murder. If you are curious, a group of sloth is called a ‘bed’, which seems appropriate.)

By Edward Griffith - http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/pygmy-three-toed-sloth-bradypus-pygmaeus-critically-news-photo/594208205, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47930334

Early European explorers and settlers had few nice things to say about sloths, being repulsed by their appearance. From times before that, native groups in the Americas also had some poor views of the sloth. In Brazil a legend has even existed of a frightful giant sloth called Mapinguari, which means ‘the beast who roars’, and it is supposed to have a strong putrid scent. The sound of a sloths mating call in the forest could certainly be shocking, and the algae that grows on their fur does get a bit stinky. So, the mapinguari must have just been the imagination of the local people exaggerating their fears of a normal sloth.

So, when did opinions of the sloth change? And what do people think of them today?

It’s hard to pinpoint a time when a public love for sloths became ‘a thing’. There was an interview in 2012 of actress Kristen Bell on the Ellen show where she came out about her fascination with sloths.

There was a noticeable spike in displays of sloth love throughout the internet after that, and sloths continue to be popular. An article from 2017 in Atlas Obscura presented the reasons why someone might find sloths to be disgusting along with the reasons why they could be cute. The results didn’t surprise us:

What makes sloths cute?

They look kind of human, except not really. Sloths seem to be making human expressions with their faces and their front limbs seem to be arms. Sloth are not primates, or even closely related to them, but since they live in trees just like our early ancestors did, their bodies have developed in a way somewhat similar to ours. 

Maybe the pseudo-humanness of sloths makes them relatable, but perhaps for some of us we relate to them because they are SOOOOO LAAAAAZY. Sloths can be observed being totally still for hours and hours, and when they do move they are super slow with all their movement. A sloth can take a whole day just to move 100 feet. Some of us surely wish we could get away with being that lazy! 

However, given that sloth, AKA laziness, is considered one the worst sins, not everyone is a fan of that aspect of our tree-hanging buddies. That taking-it-slow lifestyle also leads to some aspects that people really dislike about sloths as well. They have microorganisms, algae, and even insects living in their fur. This disgusts a lot of people, but actually this is another amazing aspect of sloths. Some of these creatures are found exclusively in the hairs of the sloth.

Sloths are fantastic, and their popularity doesn’t seem to be fading. The craft-selling platform Etsy reported that sloths were fast becoming the most popular animal figure in crafts. (This is probably the only time the word ‘fast’ has been used to describe sloths). 

Recent cartoon characters represent a sign of and contribution to the public love of sloths, namely Sid from Ice Age and Flash from Zootopia. 

We asked people why they loved sloths so much and here are some of their responses:

The love we have for sloths isn’t going anywhere. We want to have their cute visages in our life. Images of sloths on our bags and pillow and stuffed sloths are some of the most popular products among sloth fans like us.  Here is our carefully selected list of the cutest sloth products:


And for even more great sloth products visit our Sloth Shop.

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