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Sloths: Pygmy Sloths

Pygmy Sloth

"Pygmy Sloth" by Sylvia Westenbroek;
used with permission under CC BY 2.0

The pygmy three-toed sloth is a newly recognized species of sloth. It was only just recognized as a distinct species in 2001!

This sloth lives in a very specific area of the world: in the red mangrove forests on Isla Escudo de Veraguas, Panama. These sloths will only be found in these forests near the ocean because they need to live in a humid environment to survive.

According to many scientists this sloth has evolved to be much smaller than its cousin sloths due to the separation of this sloth almost 9,000 years ago! This sloth will weigh 10 pounds at most; by comparison, the maned sloth can weigh almost double that (20 pounds)!

In many ways, this sloth is quite mysterious. Since it was only recently recognized as an independent species of sloth, there has not been much research done to better understand it or define it distinctly in the wild. To add to this, the pygmy three-toed sloth is currently on the list of 100 most endangered species in the world. It is currently estimated that there are a mere 79 living pygmy three-toed sloths in the world.