The three-toed sloth has long coarse
hair over dense underfur, a white face with a brown stripe on each side, a brown
throat, and a body that is pale brown to yellowish. Each adult male has a unique
pattern of yellow hair on its back with a black stripe through the center. As
the name suggests, the three-toed has three toes on each of its front and hind
feet. (Its relative, the two-toed sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) also has three
toes on the hind feet, but two on the front feet.)
Interesting Biology :
The three-toed sloth is active during the day, unlike the nocturnal two-toed sloth, and so is seen more often. This sloth only eats leaves from trees and lianas, but may feed on fifty individual trees of up to thirty species, eating leaves of different ages. Sloths live, feed, mate, and reproduce near the upper levels of the forest canopy. They move to a new tree often enough to balance their diet, or about once every 1.5 days. Home ranges of different individuals may overlap considerably and females tend to be more social than males, but usually one adult (or female with young) will occupy a tree at any given time. Sloths may use different food sources depending upon what their mothers taught them to eat.
Though large for an arboreal mammal, the three-toed sloth must also be light for its size to live in the treetops, so it has reduced muscle mass. They also have an enormous gut capacity-nearly 30% of their body weight! The sloth's diet of leaves is digested very slowly, so they need a large capacity. Sloths consume a significant amount of leaf material in a forest (about 2% of total annual leaf production in Panama). They have a slow metabolism, though, so they have thick fur to insulate them when their body temperature drops at night; their temperature peaks during the day when they bask in the sunlight.