There are 6 species of sloth: 4 of them are Three-toed, and 2 of them are Two-toed. The Two-toed sloth varieties, Hoffman’s and Linnaeus’s, are the largest of the sloth species.
Until relatively recent times, the woodlands and grasslands of North and South America were home to a diverse group giant sloth species. Known collectively as “ground sloths”, they are some of the largest mammals ever. One genus, the South American Megatherium, could be as large as an African bull elephant.
Ground sloths became extinct at the same time humans arrived in the Americas, leading some scientists to conclude their extinction was human-caused. Changing climate may have played a role, but ground sloths survived for much longer in the Antilles Islands than on the mainland, which supports the theory that human activity caused their extinction.
Some believe that the mythical Amazon forest creature Mapinguari is based on folk memory of these giant creatures.
An Illustration of Megatherium
There are six species of sloth, with the two-toed sloth species being larger than their 3 toed relatives. There are only two species of the two toed sloth; the Linnaeus’s Two-toed sloth and the Hoffman’s two-toed sloth. The three toed sloths are larger and generally faster moving sloths than the two-toed sloths. The two-toed sloths generally have a body length between 58-70 centimeters and generally weight between 4-8 kilograms. Some features distinguishing between a two-toed sloth and a three-toed sloth are a more prominent snout, longer fur, and the absence of a tail.
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