Evidence suggests that sloths grow algae in their fur and then eat it. This algae-farming is thought to be aided by moths that live in the fur, and whose growth the sloth actively promotes.

The Strange Symbiosis Between Sloths and Moths

Once a week, three-toed sloths slowly descend from the leafy forest canopy to poop on the ground. Why do these sluggish mammals go on such a long and potentially dangerous journey instead of just letting it fly from the treetops? Scientists now believe the answer has to do with the odd, symbiotic relationship between sloths and moths.

A dangerous toilet

Only about 10 mammalian species — less than 0.2 percent of all mammals — have evolved to eat leaves and fruit that can only be found by climbing trees. Mostly that’s because living high in the trees imposes certain lifestyle constraints. First, the animals must be small and light enough to live in that habitat; and second, must be able to digest a huge amount of plant matter, which i… Continue Reading (5 minute read)

6 thoughts on “Evidence suggests that sloths grow algae in their fur and then eat it. This algae-farming is thought to be aided by moths that live in the fur, and whose growth the sloth actively promotes.”

  1. undeadnihilist

    Such glorious dedication to not moving

  2. BlueDreamerZZ

    So all of those videos where people are giving them baths, the sloths are secretly screaming inside. *Gah!! There goes this year’s crop!!! Now what am I gonna feed my livestock?!*

  3. ParadiseValleyFiend

    When you’re so slow that you make half decent farmland.

  4. TenicioBelDoro

    I’m not poorly groomed…I’m metabolically efficient.

  5. elementnix

    Just gonna mention that the way to tell the difference between 2-toed and 3-toed sloths isn’t by looking at their ‘toes’ because they all have three ‘toes’. The difference is that 2-toed sloths have 2 claws on their hands and 3-toed have 3 claws.

  6. mtnslice

    For the first and maybe only time, the words “sloth” and “actively” have been out into the same sentence

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