The Virtual Rainforest
A Neotropical Rainforest
Rainforest Research


Tree Seedlings

Forest Flowers



Army Ants

Bullet Ants
Leafcutter Ants

Rhinoceros Beetle

Swallowtail Butterfly



Keel-billed Toucan

Howler Monkeys

White-faced Monkeys

Three-toed Sloth
Baird's Tapir
White-lipped Peccary
Reptiles and Amphibians:
Red-eyed Tree Frog
Poison Dart Frog
Helmeted Iguana
Eyelash Viper
Terciopelo Viper
Spectacled Caiman
American Crocodile
Human Systems:
Rainforest Boy
Rainforest Girl
Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Rainforest Research

About the Authors





Three-toed Sloth, Bradypus variegatus
Two-toed Sloth, Choloepus hoffmannii

Three-toed Sloth in Cecropia TreeSloths are SLOW moving mammals that live in the tops of trees and eat leaves.

The three toed sloth gets its English name from the fact that it has three long claws on each paw. Its tough grey hair is usually green tinged because of algae that live inside its fur. The sloth’s alga is eaten by sloth moths and provides the sloth with a way to hide in the trees away from predators. The sloth is perezoso (lazy or slow) because all it eats are leaves. The leaves are so low in energy that the sloth has to conserve as much energy as possible. While they move very slowly in trees, you should see one swim! They can swim much faster than they can walk or climb. Their arms are much longer than their legs and the only way for them to walk is to drag themselves along the floor. Males are marked by a patch of orange and black fur on its back. Although they are very slow, they are still very important for the rainforest ecosystem.

The two-toed sloth is harder to find than three-toeds because there are many fewer of them. Two-toed sloths actually move faster than three-toed, but they are still VERY SSSSLLLOOOOOWWWW.









The Virtual Rainforest

Back to the Rainforest

Copyright Gerald R. Urquhart
Michigan State University

Students and teachers have permission to quote text and use images from this website in class assignments. Images may be used in classroom and academic presentations with notification of author. All other use should request permission.


Virtual Rainforest development supported by grant #0815966 from the
National Science Foundation

Center for Global Change and Earth Observation

Michigan State University