Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sloths and their Business - Travel Writing Class '11

Sloths are undeniably cute rain forest creatures. It would be difficult for me to find another person that would argue over their cuteness. These long limb beauties with a contagious little grin are common to Central and South America. Jack Ewing experiences these creatures through his book, 'Monkeys are Made of Chocolate.'

Jack has regularly taken tour groups out onto his converted plantation/wildlife refuge to spot not only the Three-toed Sloth but other indigenous species as well. The Three-toed Sloth primarily eats the rain forest leaves as it ascends slowly up with its long claws. Sloths do much of their activities among the trees but they do their 'business' on the ground.

What is interesting about the Sloths aversion to the rain forest ground, is quite frankly, the presence of a wide variety of predators, such as large cats, namely the Jaguar being the most prominent enemy of the Three toed Sloth. That is why this observation is even stranger. Jack Ewing, the author, has always observed the Sloths on his property doing their business on the ground and as quickly as possible. However, the Sloth he observed on one of his tours was doing its business whilst still up in the tree. For a Biologist, this was amazing, for the average person, they probably did not write home about it.

This Sloth was either extremely smart by doing his business in the tree or extremely lazy and just did not want to go through the trouble of slowly climbing to the rain forest floor. Either way, if I ever see a Sloth anywhere in the trees of Costa Rica, I will try to remember to watch myself, just in case he decides he does not feel like crawling down to get to business!

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