Panama Mammal Photos - Sloths

by Will Cook

Here are some mammal photos from a birding and butterflying trip to Panama, March 17-April 4, 2004.

Sloths | Primates

Two-toed Sloths - Megalonychidae

Two-toed Sloth

Hoffman's Two-toed Sloth
(Choloepus hoffmanni)

Sloths are truly bizarre creatures, very high on the list of things I wanted to see most in Panama.

Two-toed Sloths are uncommon; we saw only a couple in Panama. They're slow moving but a little faster and brighter-seeming than the algae-growing Three-toed Sloths. They're pale tan, with long, straight fur.

This one was on the move in the late afternoon at the Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas on the Amador Causeway in Panama City.

Three-toed Sloths - Bradypodidae

Three-toed Sloth

Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth
(Bradypus variegatus)

On our second day in Panama we were on our way between Cerro Azul and Cerro Jefe when we spotted this creature starting to cross the road. We immediately stopped and got out in the middle of the road, making sure traffic didn't run her over.

Even more bizarre than the Two-toed, Three-toed Sloths are common; we saw quite a few in Panama. They're extremely slow moving - it took several minutes to cross the road. They're a darker brown and have otherworldly faces and odd, stubby tails. Certain species of moths make their living on sloth fur - we saw a couple of them flying around her as she crossed the road.

This one looked like it had a strange growth on its belly... which eventually we saw was a baby! The curly-headed babies are much cuter than the adults. The baby tolerated being dragged on the pavement quite well, but when the mama started heading up the bank, the pressure was too much and it peeked out.

Eventually the mother and baby made it safely across the road and up into a bare dry-deciduous roadside tree. When we returned to the spot a couple of hours later, there was no sign of them.

You never know what you might see hanging from a tree in Panama. This Three-toed Sloth was hanging by one claw from a Cecropia tree along Pipeline Road, Panama province, 3/23/04.

Sloths | Primates

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All photographs and text ©2013 by Will Cook unless otherwise noted.