Sloth Science and Research
In order to develop and implement any good conservation strategy, a solid scientific knowledge of the sloth’s ecological requirements is necessary.
For this reason, we fund, coordinate, and publish high-quality research into many different aspects of sloth biology and ecology. Existing and ongoing research projects from the Sloth Conservation Foundation include:
We determined the resting metabolic rate (RMR) of 8 adult three-fingered sloths (B. variegatus) using indirect calorimetry (i.e. by monitoring the oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production of sloths that were sleeping inside of a metabolic chamber in Costa Rica). Read More…
Sloths Like It Hot: ambient temperature modulates food intake in the brown-throated sloth (Bradypus Variegatus)
During this study, we measured exact levels of food intake in three-fingered sloths and investigated how these levels were affected by changes in the ambient temperature. Read More…
We photographed a male brown‐throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) lapping water from the surface of a river in Costa Rica. Our latest work ‘Sloths hanging out for a drink’ has just been published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
We used ‘Daily Diary’ data loggers on both wild and captive sloths to determine the proportion of time spent inverted. Combining the hang-angle preference information with ventilation rate data, we use an energetics-based model to estimate that the presence of the adhesions could reduce a sloth´s energy expenditure. Read More…
Tree sloths rely on their limb flexors for bodyweight support and joint stability during suspensory locomotion and posture. This study aims to describe the myology of three-toed sloths and identify limb muscle traits that indicate modification for suspensorial habit. Read More…
Cheap labor: myosin fiber type expression and enzyme activity in the forelimb musculature of sloths.
We hypothesize that intrinsic muscle properties are also modified for fatigue resistance and predict a heterogeneous expression of slow/fast myosin heavy chain (MHC) fibers that utilize oxidative metabolic pathways for economic force production. Read More…
Monitoring wildlife bridge usage:
We have installed almost 200 Sloth Crossing wildlife bridges in the South Caribbean of Costa Rica to help sloths and other species navigate between habitat fragments safely. We are conducting long-term monitoring of the bridges using motion-activated camera traps combined with automatic intelligence software.
Thermal Imaging Drones:
We are testing the detectability of sloths using specialized thermal imaging drones combined with artificial intelligence to automatically identify the thermal fingerprint of sloths. To do this, we are working in collaboration with researchers from Liverpool John Moores University and Koala experts from the University of Newcastle in Australia.