Sloth: The Ultimate Conservationist

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There are some animals that I have looked at and wondered why God created them. Mosquitoes and spiders come to mind. Maybe even termites or scorpions. And as far as larger animals go, the sloth has always made me raise my eyebrows. At the zoo, I’m lucky to see them move at all.

Turns out, God made them as the ultimate conservationist. What I would call lazy, they call a survival strategy. Sloths have a super-slow metabolism and actually spend most of their time asleep. When it’s awake, the sloth spends the day merely hanging there.

With all this inactivity, the sloth has about half the muscle mass of other animals of similar size—they weigh only 10 pounds on average. They also keep their body temperature about 10 degrees Fahrenheit lower than other animals their size. This allows them to eat much less food than other mammals and still survive.

Sloths eat tough leaves, which are digested using symbiotic bacteria in their large, chambered stomachs. In their typical slow fashion, digestion can take up to a month. Once a week, they usually relieve themselves at the base of their home tree, sometimes as much as 2 pounds at a time. Now, that’s efficient.

I could stand to slow my life down a little, but I think I’ll let the sloth keep its title as the king of energy conservation. In His wisdom, God made the sloth more amazing than I ever thought—although I still have my questions about mosquitoes.

Reference: “When Sloth is Not Sin,” Answers, 6 (4), Oct-Dec 2011, p. 20.

Photo Credit: ID 31793217 © Vilainecrevette | Dreamstime.com
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