What Do Sloths Eat

Discover what sloths eat and how their specialized diet helps them survive in the wild. Learn about their low metabolism, herbivorous diet, and unique digestive system.


Sloths are known for their slow movements and adorable appearance, but have you ever wondered what these creatures actually eat? In this article, we will explore the diet of sloths, their eating habits, and how they survive in the wild.

Herbivorous Diet

Sloths are herbivores, which means they primarily eat plants. Their diet mainly consists of leaves, buds, and tender shoots from a variety of trees and plants. Some of the most common trees that sloths feed on include the Cecropia tree, the trumpet tree, and the cacao tree.

Low Metabolism

One interesting fact about sloths is that they have a very low metabolism, which allows them to survive on a diet that is high in fiber but low in nutrients. This slow metabolism also helps them conserve energy and spend most of their time resting or sleeping.

Specialized Digestive System

Sloths have a specialized digestive system that allows them to break down tough plant material. They have a multi-chambered stomach that houses bacteria and other microorganisms, which help ferment the plant material and extract nutrients from it.

Water Intake

Despite their diet consisting mainly of leaves, sloths do not drink much water. They obtain most of their water from the plants they eat and have evolved to be very efficient at conserving water.

Case Study: Three-Toed Sloth

The three-toed sloth is one of the most iconic species of sloths. These creatures spend most of their time hanging upside down from trees and feed on a diet of leaves, buds, and fruits. They will occasionally supplement their diet with insects or small lizards.


In conclusion, sloths are fascinating creatures with a specialized diet that allows them to survive in their unique environment. By understanding what sloths eat and how they obtain their nutrients, we can appreciate these animals even more.

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