Baby Sloths Teach Us the Difference in Species

Now, I think we can all agree that

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sloths are absolutely adorable,

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but did you know there's different kinds?

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If not, stick around, 'cause it's sloth feeding time.

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Look at that, they're kissing.

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(dramatic tribal music)

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- [Voiceover] Costa Rica is home to

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an enormous variety of wildlife.

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Being positioned geographically

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between North and South America,

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it's Neotropical climate creates the perfect habitat

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for nearly half a million species of animals.

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And while a large portion of these creatures

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are creepy, crawly, slithery, or slimy,

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there are also around 200 species of mammals, however,

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getting up close with them in the wild is nearly impossible.

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So today I will be visiting the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary,

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which is perfectly placed along the Pacific Coast

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in the beachfront town of Dominical.

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This facility helps displaced or injured animals

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rehabilitate so that they can eventually

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be released back into the wild.

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The sanctuary is home to many species,

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and on this episode I will be getting to spend

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my morning with two very adorable baby sloths.

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- It's sloth feeding time!

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Now we make these versus videos and people

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always think that the animals are gonna fight,

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not the case, especially when it comes to baby sloths.

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Now, what you're looking at here is

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a three-toed sloth and a two-toed sloth.

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Now, there are some very distinct

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differences between these two species,

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and right now we're going to show you those differences.

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- [Voiceover] Notice how the three-toed sloth has

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a very coarse coat that is darker in coloration,

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while the two-toed is much softer and lighter in color.

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Face structure, however,

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is the most visually obvious difference.

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- You can see how distinct the

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face of the three-toed sloth is,

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and this is the quintessential

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sloth species here in Costa Rica,

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the most famous of the sloths,

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has that really adorable little raccoon-looking mask,

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those black, beady eyes, and that button nose.

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When you look at the two-toed sloth you'll

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see that the coloration is a goldish-tan, the nose,

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the lips, and the eyes are all lighter in coloration,

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and the snout is slightly elongated.

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Good morning, Cookie, how are you?

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Is this fun?

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You're on camera this morning,

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you're the star of the show, both of you are.

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You could have your own show, couldn't you?

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I feel like you'd be a good host.

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This is absolutely the coolest thing I've ever done,

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feeding both a two-toed and a

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three-toed sloth at the same time.

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Here we go camera, let's see if you want some more.

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You want some more?

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Oh, he likes my watch.

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Licking my watch, look at that.

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You get a shot of that?

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Yum, yum, yum, yep, can't eat the watch,

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let's go back to having milk and not my watch,

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how 'bout that?

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I must have gotten goat milk on my watch because that,

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all of a sudden, became the topic of interest.

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And they can eat up to 20 syringes of milk in a sitting.

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You've got a milk mustache there, let's get that for you.

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There you go, okay.

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Was that good?

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- [Voiceover] Finger structure is another

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major difference between these species.

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The three-toed sloth has three fingers on its forefeet,

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they're fused together, and act like a

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grappling hook as they hang from tree branches.

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The two-toed is actually capable of independently moving

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its two fingers and the hairless paw pads

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allow it to easily grip and manipulate food.

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(playful music)

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- And both species are arboral,

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which means that they spend the majority

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of their time up in the trees.

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Actually, the only time that they ever come down

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to the ground is to move from tree to tree,

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or every seven days, that's when they go to the bathroom.

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So you'll just sit around for seven days

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and eat leaves, and fruit, and flowers,

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and then you'll come down to do your business,

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but when they're up in the trees,

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they're mainly solitary animals,

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except for when it's a female with

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a baby or during breeding season.

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So you can look up into the tree tops and

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if that sloth is staying completely still,

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it just looks like a termite nest or a mound of leaves,

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and allows them to stay camouflaged to hide from predators.

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Being primarily nocturnal,

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the two-toed sloth spends its nights foraging for

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leaves and fruits under the cover of darkness,

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while the three-toed sloth is a day creature,

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spending its time in the daylight feasting on mainly leaves.

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As for Cookie and Caramel,

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at the tender age of just a few months,

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their diet consists of primarily milk.

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- Aww, look at that.

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Cookie is fast asleep after her morning of goat's milk.

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I have done some amazing things in my life,

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but nothing tops feeding the adorable baby sloths.

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I'm Coyote Peterson.

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Be brave.

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Stay wild.

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We'll see you on the next adventure.

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- [Voiceover] For Cookie and Caramel,

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the future looks bright,

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and in just a few months they should be back

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in the tree tops living the sloth life.

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However, there are many other animals at Alturas

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that also need the same amount of love and care.

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For those that can not return to the rainforest,

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this incredible facility becomes a permanent home

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where they are cared for each and every

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day by an incredible staff of animal experts.

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Do you dream of feeding a baby sloth?

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If so, I have good news.

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The Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary is constantly welcoming

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new volunteers to help with the rescue, rehabilitation,

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and release of Costa Rica's beautiful animals.

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For more information on how you

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can become a part of the team,

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visit their website, alturaswildlifesanctuary.org.

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If you thought these sloths were cute,

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make sure to check out the morning I

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spent having breakfast with a baby toucan,

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and don't forget, subscribe to join me

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and the crew on this season of Breaking Trail.

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