The Reason Sloths Are So Slow

Sloths are the adorable embodiment of one of the seven deadly sins, suggesting that when these slow-moving cuties die they go straight to hell, giving a whole new meaning to the term 'slow burn'. So hopefully their fur is flame-resistant. "Hell no," you might be tempted to protest. "It's not the sloth's fault that it's basically a sack of molasses with hopefully nonflammable fur." But remember, nature is cruel, except with dogs, which all go to heaven. Sadly, all sloths go to hell. Here's why Mother Nature condemned this child to slow-burn for eternity.

Sloths don't burn a lot of calories

Sloths might do well in hell because, according to the BBC, they thrive in warm climates. All six existing species of sloth evolved to live in the tropical trees of Central and South America. Their diets consist of low-calorie leaves that contain few nutrients, forcing their anatomies to adapt by developing a slow metabolism. According to zoologist Becky Cliffe of the Sloth Conservation Foundation, "It takes a sloth an entire month to digest just one leaf."

Because they burn calories slowly, sloths move slowly to conserve energy. In fact, their bodies don't even perform the same internal temperature regulation as faster mammals because they already live in a hot environment, which you could also think of as hell prep. Living in trees lessens the need for speed because most sloths are usually too high off the ground for predators to reach them. One of the only times their congenital slowpokery poses a real danger is when nature calls, and it doesn't call very often. 

Sloths do a slow, blissful poop dance

Naturally, sloth bowels move slowly, too. The animals only poop once a week, and when they doo, they expend a lot of energy and expose themselves to a lot of danger. Despite how harrowing that sounds, Sloth Conservation Foundation co-founder Sarah Kennedy described their defecation as "pure bliss." The slow-moving poopers descend their leafy home and "actually do a little dance at the base of the tree to create a hole for the feces, and then shake their hindquarters once more to cover it up." 

Experts haven't figured out why sloths go through all that trouble just drop a deuce, but it may help males locate mates. As Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston famously sang, "It takes two, baby, to make a dream come true." And in the sloth's case, it might take number two to make a baby.