Science

Sloths Confirmed As The Animal With The Slowest Metabolism On The Planet

By J Russ I. , Oct 23, 2016 02:43 AM EDT
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We know that sloths are among the laziest animal to roam our planet. Heck, they're even named after one of the seven cardinal sins because of how long their daily activity levels are.

On average, the animals move just around 40 yards a day. Lazy as they are, scientists say that there are a lot of interesting facts about this animal.

Sloths Are So Lazy That Moss Starts To Grow On Their Back

And one such fact has been recently added by ecologists following a seven-yearlong study involving a team of researchers from the Wisconsin-Madison University. During the research, the scientists gathered data from two-toed and three-toed sloths to monitor their metabolism, reported Argyll Free Press.

Jonathan Pauli, an ecologist, and co-author of the study said that though they expected that sloths to have a significantly low metabolic rate, they were surprised to find that the animal just needs a little amount of energy. They compared the sloths with other leaf-eating mammals and concluded that the three-toed takes the cake as the animal with the slowest metabolism in the planet.

These guys only expend 162 kilojoules/day/kilogram of energy and are so lazy that moss starts to grow on its back serving as a mini-ecosystem. To the surprise of the researchers, the animal that comes so close to the laziness of three-toed sloth is the panda, with a daily consumption of a measly 185 kilojoules a day.

Sloths Capable Of Controlling Their Temperature Even As They Sleep

The three-toed sloths, on the other hand, are far active than its two-toed kin and the giant black and white bear as they consume 234 kilojoules a day. The two-toed sloths are able to survive this slow metabolism as they can live in small areas and are capable of regulating their body temperature preventing it from losing extra energy as it sleeps 15 to 20 hours a day, said People.

"They're slightly heterothermic, so they can fluctuate their body temperature by about five degrees Celsius to be in line with the outside temperature. By relaxing their body temperature, they have big savings in terms of energetic output," Pauli explains.

 

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