A Sloth Can Hold Its Breath for 40 Minutes Underwater — and 6 Other Facts For International Sloth Day

Sloth Day Facts
Photo: Getty Images

Let’s just get one thing straight: Sloths are the most magical creatures on earth. They are adorable, love warm climates, laze about all day, and their course furry bodies provide a home to hundreds of other organisms. But, there’s a lot more to these delightful mammals than you may realize. And this weekend may be the best time to learn more about them because Oct. 20 is “International Sloth Day.” We think this is a holiday is really worth celebrating. Here are seven ridiculously fun facts about sloths to get the party started.

Sloths are ridiculously good swimmers

Sloths can swim three times faster than they can walk on land. And because of their ability to slow their heart rates to one-third its normal rate, they can also hold their breath for a whopping 40 minutes under water.

Sloths only go to the bathroom once a week

Sloths are creatures of habit. They only climb down from their tree perches once a week to go to the bathroom. And when they do, they always go in the same exact spot.

Sloths are so slow they grow algae on their backs

Because of the sloth’s slow-moving sedentary nature, they make a great environment for algae and other fungi to grow. In fact, according to research by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the fungi that frequently grows on the course, thick fur of a sloth could one day be used as a potent drug to fight against everything from parasites to cancers.

Sloths can turn their heads nearly 360 degrees

Sloths may not be able to move their body with ease, but they sure can turn heads. Literally. According to Ask Nature, a sloth can swivel its neck up to 270 degrees in either direction thanks to the fact that it has extra vertebrae in its spine.

Sloths' nails are nearly four-inches long

Technically, sloths don’t have “nails” in the traditional sense. Instead, BBC explained, they have four-inch long protruding finger bones. Those bones help them grasp onto trees, even in their sleep. These nails also help compensate for a sloth’s terrible eyesight by giving them a greater sene of touch.

Sloths love their alone time

For the most part, sloths like to live alone in quiet solitude. The only time they like to see others, according to LiveScience, is when they happen to be sleeping in the same tree as another sloth, or when they are mating.

Sloths can live up to 40 years

Lifespan can vary between the different species of sloths, but on average, sloths live 20 to 30 years in the wild. Sloths have been known to live a bit longer in captivity, though the years probably feel just a bit longer for these adorable slowpokes.

Want to see a sloth in the wild? Here are the best places around the globe to go sloth spotting.

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