Brown-throated three-toed sloth

(Bradypus variegatus)


Brown-throated three-toed sloth IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

Sloths are very unusual animals with long limbs, short bodies and stumpy tails, that live upside down in trees, moving slowly and little. To accommodate this lifestyle, the fur grows from the belly toward the back, and the head can rotate 270 degrees.


The three-toed sloth has five simple teeth on each side of the upper jaw, and four teeth in the lower. Thre are no true canines or incisors. The feet have no free toes but three long curved claws that form a hook by which the sloth can hang passively from a branch.


Three-toed sloths may be active at day and night. They usually feed high in the canopy where they are difficult to spot. About once a week they descend to the ground to defecate: while clinging to a tree trunk they dig a hole, defecate in it, and cover it over.


Three-toed sloths give birth to one single young, which spends its first 6-9 months clinging to its mother.

Did you know?
That all sloths have three toes, even two-toed sloths! However, they have only two front claws whereas the three-toed sloth has three of these long, hook-shaped claws.


Name (Scientific) Bradypus variegatus
Name (English) Brown-throated three-toed sloth
Name (French) Paresseux à gorge brune
Name (German) Braunkehl-Faultier
Name (Spanish) Perezosos de tres dedos, Perezoso grisaceo
Local names Brazil: Preguiça-de-bentinho
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Stefan Taube



Range From Honduras to North Argentina, withouth north-eastern regions of South America.
Habitat Tropical Rainforest
Wild population Unknown, but widespread and abundant (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 1 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Brown-throated three-toed sloth


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 75 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
D. Gordon E. Robertson

Why do zoos keep this animal

The tree-toed sloth is currently not threatened with extinction. It is rarely kept by zoos, although the species is of major educational interest and would be a good ambassador species for its habitat, the threatened neotropical rainforests.


In range countries zoos may keep the species for animal welfare reasons as they may accept caring for injured or orphaned individuals.