Brown-throated sloth hanging from a branch

Three-toed sloths

The three-toed sloth's lethargic life revolves around sleeping and eating, and most energy is expended descending trees to go to the toilet. Often described as having a body built to hang, they look like bundles of leaves, partly owing to their silent stillness and partly because their fur contains a camouflaging algae. Of the four species, which are found hanging around in the rainforests of South America, one - the critically endangered pygmy three-toed sloth - is found only on a tiny five square kilometre island off the coast of Panama.

Scientific name: Bradypus

Rank: Genus

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Map showing the distribution of the Three-toed sloths taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Three-toed sloths can be found in a number of locations including: Amazon Rainforest, South America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Three-toed sloths distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Rainforest Rainforest
Rainforests are the world's powerhouses, the most vital habitats on the planet. Characterised by high rainfall, they only cover 6% of the Earth across the tropical regions, but they contain more than half of its plant and animal species.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Mammals
  5. Anteaters and sloths
  6. Bradypodidae
  7. Three-toed sloths