What is the importance of sloths in their native ecosystems?



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    Sloths are important to the ecosystem in a number of ways. First and foremost, sloths contribute to the ecosystem in several significant ways just through their fur. For instance, one study found more than 950 beetles living on a single sloth! The beetles were found living off the algae that grows in a sloth’s fur. Because sloths spend a lot of their time on their back, the hair on their bodies grow from the stomach to the back which causes water to runoff the back of a sloth. The slow movement and the moistness of their fur stimulates the growth of algae on their fur. 

    A sloth’s fur is also home to a certain species of moth. These particular moths depend on the sloth’s descent to the ground to lay eggs. Sloths usually only descend to the ground to urinate and pass feces once a week due to their slow metabolism. 

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