Baby Sloths Teach Us the Difference in Species
Now, I think we can all agree that
sloths are absolutely adorable,
but did you know there's different kinds?
If not, stick around, 'cause it's sloth feeding time.
Look at that, they're kissing.
(dramatic tribal music)
- [Voiceover] Costa Rica is home to
an enormous variety of wildlife.
Being positioned geographically
between North and South America,
it's Neotropical climate creates the perfect habitat
for nearly half a million species of animals.
And while a large portion of these creatures
are creepy, crawly, slithery, or slimy,
there are also around 200 species of mammals, however,
getting up close with them in the wild is nearly impossible.
So today I will be visiting the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary,
which is perfectly placed along the Pacific Coast
in the beachfront town of Dominical.
This facility helps displaced or injured animals
rehabilitate so that they can eventually
be released back into the wild.
The sanctuary is home to many species,
and on this episode I will be getting to spend
my morning with two very adorable baby sloths.
- It's sloth feeding time!
Now we make these versus videos and people
always think that the animals are gonna fight,
not the case, especially when it comes to baby sloths.
Now, what you're looking at here is
a three-toed sloth and a two-toed sloth.
Now, there are some very distinct
differences between these two species,
and right now we're going to show you those differences.
- [Voiceover] Notice how the three-toed sloth has
a very coarse coat that is darker in coloration,
while the two-toed is much softer and lighter in color.
Face structure, however,
is the most visually obvious difference.
- You can see how distinct the
face of the three-toed sloth is,
and this is the quintessential
sloth species here in Costa Rica,
the most famous of the sloths,
has that really adorable little raccoon-looking mask,
those black, beady eyes, and that button nose.
When you look at the two-toed sloth you'll
see that the coloration is a goldish-tan, the nose,
the lips, and the eyes are all lighter in coloration,
and the snout is slightly elongated.
Good morning, Cookie, how are you?
Is this fun?
You're on camera this morning,
you're the star of the show, both of you are.
You could have your own show, couldn't you?
I feel like you'd be a good host.
This is absolutely the coolest thing I've ever done,
feeding both a two-toed and a
three-toed sloth at the same time.
Here we go camera, let's see if you want some more.
You want some more?
Oh, he likes my watch.
Licking my watch, look at that.
You get a shot of that?
Yum, yum, yum, yep, can't eat the watch,
let's go back to having milk and not my watch,
how 'bout that?
I must have gotten goat milk on my watch because that,
all of a sudden, became the topic of interest.
And they can eat up to 20 syringes of milk in a sitting.
You've got a milk mustache there, let's get that for you.
There you go, okay.
Was that good?
- [Voiceover] Finger structure is another
major difference between these species.
The three-toed sloth has three fingers on its forefeet,
they're fused together, and act like a
grappling hook as they hang from tree branches.
The two-toed is actually capable of independently moving
its two fingers and the hairless paw pads
allow it to easily grip and manipulate food.
- And both species are arboral,
which means that they spend the majority
of their time up in the trees.
Actually, the only time that they ever come down
to the ground is to move from tree to tree,
or every seven days, that's when they go to the bathroom.
So you'll just sit around for seven days
and eat leaves, and fruit, and flowers,
and then you'll come down to do your business,
but when they're up in the trees,
they're mainly solitary animals,
except for when it's a female with
a baby or during breeding season.
So you can look up into the tree tops and
if that sloth is staying completely still,
it just looks like a termite nest or a mound of leaves,
and allows them to stay camouflaged to hide from predators.
Being primarily nocturnal,
the two-toed sloth spends its nights foraging for
leaves and fruits under the cover of darkness,
while the three-toed sloth is a day creature,
spending its time in the daylight feasting on mainly leaves.
As for Cookie and Caramel,
at the tender age of just a few months,
their diet consists of primarily milk.
- Aww, look at that.
Cookie is fast asleep after her morning of goat's milk.
I have done some amazing things in my life,
but nothing tops feeding the adorable baby sloths.
I'm Coyote Peterson.
We'll see you on the next adventure.
- [Voiceover] For Cookie and Caramel,
the future looks bright,
and in just a few months they should be back
in the tree tops living the sloth life.
However, there are many other animals at Alturas
that also need the same amount of love and care.
For those that can not return to the rainforest,
this incredible facility becomes a permanent home
where they are cared for each and every
day by an incredible staff of animal experts.
Do you dream of feeding a baby sloth?
If so, I have good news.
The Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary is constantly welcoming
new volunteers to help with the rescue, rehabilitation,
and release of Costa Rica's beautiful animals.
For more information on how you
can become a part of the team,
visit their website, alturaswildlifesanctuary.org.
If you thought these sloths were cute,
make sure to check out the morning I
spent having breakfast with a baby toucan,
and don't forget, subscribe to join me
and the crew on this season of Breaking Trail.
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