Bradypus is a terrestrial mammal of the sloth family, which is often characterized by its slow-moving demeanor and coarse hair. Although Bradypus variegatus has similar features to other bradypodidae, as a species it can be clearly distinguished by the brown coloration along the “sides of its face and throat, prominent dark brown forehead, suborbital stripe outlining the ocular area of the face and shorter mandibular spout”(1). Found in the forest canopies of Central and South America, the brown-throated three-toed sloth feeds off of leaves and shoots, descending from the treetops every eight days to defecate(1). Home ranges vary in size from 0.5 to 9 hectares, and sloths are said to spend time in an average of 40 trees for every 5 hectares(2). A portion of Bradypus variegatus’ home range is passed on from mother to baby sloth for competition reduction. Mating season occurs annually before the start of the rainy season, and one offspring per litter is born after an estimated gestation period of 4-6 months(3).
- (1) Christine Chan, “Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth (Bradypus variegatus),” Brown Throated three-toed sloth, http://bss.sfsu.edu/geog/bholzman/courses/fall99projects/sloth.htm (accessed March 3, 2011).
- (2) “Brown-throated Sloth,” Brown-throated Sloth – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown-throated_Sloth (accessed March 1, 2011).
- (3) “Bradypus variegatus,” Species Accound for Bradypus variegatud, Brown-Throated, Three-Toed Sloth,” http://www.uwsp.edu/biology/facilities/vertebrates/Mammals%20of%20Paraguay/Bradypus%20variegatus/Bradypus%20variegatus.htm (accessed March 3, 2011).