Sloths as Pets – Everything You Need To Know

pet sloth hanging

If you are fascinated by exotic pets, you may want to consider a pet sloth. These creatures are very calm and quiet. They move slowly and can live up to 30 years. People who own pet sloths say that the pets are playful and easygoing. However, just like other exotic pets, you must know what you are getting into before you decide to get a sloth. There are many shortcomings of having these creatures as pets as there are merits; and this article explores everything you need to know before making that important decision.

What are sloths?

Sloths are described as arboreal mammals that are divided into two major categories. There are two-toed sloths and three-toed sloths. However, there are further subdivisions under these two main categories. Owning three-toed sloths is illegal because they are mainly found in tropical rainforests and do not do well in captivity. They love hanging on trees to keep predators at bay. Sloths are noted for their very low metabolism which makes them very slow. Two-toed sloths are commonly kept as pets and before purchasing, look at your local laws pertaining to sloth ownership. They are illegal to keep in certain jurisdiction and you may require a special permit to keep them.

Sloth behavior and temperament

Sloths are quite interesting in their behavior and character. Naturally, they don’t like petting or grooming. Also, it is hard to tell when they are scared because they don’t show any outward sign of stress. Instead, they stay calm even when in distress. Sloths in the wild use their slow pace to keep themselves safe. They camouflage and stay out of sight. They are excellent climbers and love to hang upside down from tree branches. The problem is that they can barely walk on the ground. They drag their legs on the ground slowing them down even further. However, sloths are awesome in water. They are excellent swimmers and have been seen to hold their breath for 40 minutes underwater.

Sloths grow very long claws in the wild. This actually enhances their grip. When you get this pet, cliping these claws is not a good idea. Having said this, sloths can scratch you and to this end, get help from an extotic pets vet. Ideally, their claws should remain intact. When you choose to get a sloth, you must provide the right environment to satisfy their natural instincts of climbing and hanging onto trees. Young sloths are usually attached to their mothers and in this regard, they can be more affectionate towards the owner. They love to embrace just like babies and this can forge a good bond.

Best sloth diet

Two-toed sloths which are commonly kept as exotic pets eat leaves. Ideally, you want to provide leaves from trees found in their original habitat. However, this is not always possible. The best alternative is to feed sloths with leaf eater pellets. These are pellets that zoos use to feed their sloths. There are many brand options that provide wholesome pellets to keep your beloved sloth happy and healthy. In addition, you can supplement their diet with apples, grapes, dandelion greens and others. However, these additions should be occasional. Therefore, sloths do not eat leaves from all trees and you must be careful to avoid pesticide poisoning. Clean water is also necessary every day for your pet sloth.

Housing your sloth

Creating the perfect habitat for this exiotic pet can be a daunting task. Sloths thrive in very hot and humid climates just like in tropical rainforest settings. The room must be spacious, hot and humid. Keep in mind that anything less can lead to a drop in body temperature and digestive systems of sloths can shut down. Therefore, invest in good heaters and humidifiers to attain the best housing for your pet. Also, to allow for hanging and climbing, put logs, branches and poles in the habitat. Make sure that these elements are placed in close proximity to each other; sloths do not jump like monkeys. From time to time, sloths can be allowed to venture outside but for their wellbeing and safety, they must sleep in their habitats.

Common ailments

Some of the most common health issues faced by pet sloths are related to nutrition. Because it is difficult to recreate the natural sloth diet, digestive problems may be evident. Other common ailments are respiratory problems and physical injuries. Nutritionally, seek the right help from your vet. Also, make sure that your sloth is secured in their habitat. Their slow nature makes them susceptible to attacks and injuries.

Benefits of getting a pet sloth

  • They are cute furry animals that add some personality to your home; they can also be friendly and loving
  • They are generally slow, making them easy to monitor around the home
  • They are quiet animals and will not chew on your furniture, cushions or cloths
  • Sloths also like to stay clean and living with them can be pleasant

Downsides of choosing sloths as pets

  • Their long claws can become an issue
  • In some regions, getting a sloth legally is very hard
  • They are not cheap pets to keep and their food to medical expenses can be very high

Final thoughts

If you are truly interested in owning a pet sloth there are books on Amazon that discuss the subject in depth. Sloths are cute furry mammals who can weigh up to 17 lbs. They have special needs when it comes to habitat and even diet. Buying this pet is therefore for the keen enthusiastic exotic pet owner. They are not cheap and in this regard, only get a sloth when you are ready to cater to their needs. Sloths are unique creatures from their appearance to their behavior; and getting to know them can be a fascinating adventure. Sloths love their beauty sleep which can last from 15 to 20 hours a day. Sloths have also been tagged photogenic; with an ever-smiling facial attribute. When you acquire a pet sloth legally, this is the first step towards tapping into all the benefits mentioned above.    

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