area striata
Sloth in Tortuguero national park

Sloth in Tortuguero national park

Sloths come to the ground, to urinate and defecate, only about once a week. Their fur exhibits specialised functions: the outer hairs grow in the opposite direction to that of other mammals (so as to provide protection from the elements despite living legs-uppermost), and in moist conditions host two species of symbiotic blue-green algae, which provide camouflage and possibly extra nutrition, either licked directly from the fur or absorbed through the skin. The photo was taken on our way to Turtuguero national park from the boat.

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(c) Frieder Edelhäuser 2005