When naturalist Johann Natterer found this sloth during the Austrian expedition to Brazil and sent it to the NHM in 1830, it was a true rarity in Europe.

All the sloth’s bodily functions are correspondingly slow.
It swings hand over hand from branch to branch at a speed of no more than four meters a minute, hooking into the tree bark with its curved claws, which can be up to 7.5 centimeters long. In between they remain almost motionless amidst the thick foliage. This behavior makes sloths almost invisible to their enemies. During the rainy season, tiny algae that give the sloth’s fur a greenish tinge which adds to its camouflage. Sloths only leave their treetop realm only about every eight days, when they climb down to the ground to defecate and urinate.

© NHM Wien, Lois Lammerhuber