Rica Rainforest Wildlife Info Costa Rica
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Sloths, Tapirs, and Anteaters

Information about birding and birdwatching in Costa Rica


                              Rican Sloth
Bradypus variegatus (3-toed)

Rainforest Symbiosis

The peculiarity of sloths isn't limited to their appearance- they also happen to be a personification of the phenomenon of symbiosis (mutual gain from living together). Their strange fur is covered with algae (that serves as camouflage), and full of colonies of insects, beetles, and even moths.


                              Toed Sloth
Choloepus hoffmanni (2-toed)

Sloth Predators

Sloths are definitely lazy, since they sleep 18 hours per day and they have a metabolism that's half that of most animals. While sleeping or hanging from branches on canopies of trees, they can be picked out by one of their predators - eagles. Jaguars also catch them when they descend from the trees about once a week to go to the bathroom (yes, that's right, once a week!)


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Costa Rica Sloths

The sloths are very unusual animals, and look like something from Star Wars or Dune. They have a flat face and beady eyes, a strange fur and long arms that end in menacing claws. In Costa Rica there are two kinds of sloths: the two-toed sloth which is nocturnal, and the three-toed sloth which is active during the daytime.  The Spanish name for a sloth is perezoso.   § continued below ...

Sloth Habitat and Diet

Sloths live in the canopy story of the rainforest. They are arboreal folivores, which means that they eat the young leaves at the tops of mature trees.

Tapirs (Dantas)

Besides the sloth, there are tapirs in Costa Rica. Tapirs or "dantas" in Spanish, are solitary creatures that look like a mixture of a pig and a miniature hippopotamus with a small trunk instead of a regular nose. They love to wade in watery areas such as swamps and to pluck leaves from plants to eat, which constitute all of their diet. §


                              Rica Tapir
Tapir - Danta

Tamandua Anteater
Tamandua Anteater

Tamandua Anteater

Another interesting mammal is the Costa Rican version of anteater, called the "Tamandua". It feeds entirely on ants and termites, and since it doesn't have any teeth, it swallows the insects which are ground by sand and gravel in its stomach. The Tamandua Anteater is our school mascot. The anteater, the tapir and the sloth, all seem to be a hybrid of several animals, which makes them even more exotic.  §

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Montclair Mammal Directory: Sloths Sloth Rescue Costa Rica