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Sloths are medium-sized mammals belonging to the families Megalonychidae (two-toed sloth) and Bradypodidae (three-toed sloth), classified into six species. They are part of the order Pilosa and are therefore related to anteaters, which sport a similar set of specialized claws.
Extant sloths are arboreal (tree-dwelling) residents of the jungles of Central and South America, and are known for being slow-moving, and hence named "sloths". Extinct sloth species include a few species of aquatic sloths and many ground sloths, some of which attained the size of elephants.
Sloths make a good habitat for other organisms, and a single sloth may be home to moths, beetles, cockroaches, ciliates, fungi, and algae.
Subtitle In popular culture and most wanted countries
Sloth fur exhibits specialized functions: the outer hairs grow in a direction opposite from that of other mammals. In most mammals, hairs grow toward the extremities, but because sloths spend so much time with their legs above their bodies, their hairs grow away from the extremities to provide protection from the elements while the sloth hangs upside down. In most conditions, the fur hosts two species of symbiotic algae, which provide camouflage.
Increased in popularity
Sloths increased in popularity during the early 21st century, with the release of the first of the Ice Age movies, which featured Sid, a prehistoric ground sloth, as a central character. As of 2013, there are four Ice Age movies, with the fifth planned to come out on the 15th of July, 2016. The Croods, which came out in 2013, features a sloth as a family pet.
Because of the algae, sloth fur is a small ecosystem of its own, hosting many species of non-parasitic insects. Sloths have short, flat heads, big eyes; short snouts, long legs, and tiny ears. Some species have stubby tails (6–7 cm long). Altogether, sloths' bodies usually are between 50 and 60 cm long.
Sloths' claws serve as their only natural defense. A cornered sloth may swipe at its attackers in an effort to scare them away or wound them. Despite sloths' apparent defenselessness, predators do not pose special problems: sloths blend in with the trees and, moving only slowly, do not attract attention.
Title Ecology is awesome and powerfull
Sloths are classified as folivores, as the bulk of their diets consist of buds, tender shoots, and leaves, mainly of Cecropia trees. Some two-toed sloths have been documented as eating insects, small reptiles, and birds as a small supplement to their diets.
Einleitungstext Sloths move only when necessary and even then very slowly; they have about a quarter as much muscle tissue as other animals of similar weight. They can move at a marginally higher speed if they are in immediate danger from a predator (4 m or 13 ft per minute for the three-toed sloth), but they burn large amounts of energy doing so.