Pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus) has a small population that is confined to one small island off Panama’s coast known as the island of Isla Escudo le Verguas. They are found only in the red mangrove forest that surround the island near sea level. It is the most endangered Xenarthra. The Pygmy is a dwarf sloth when compared to other sloth species living on the mainland. They also go by the name of Monk Sloth.
The fur of the pygmy three-toed sloth is normally a blotchy grey-brown coloration with the face being a tan color. The forehead has a dark band that is distinctive across it that long and shaggy hairs hang down over the face from. This gives pygmy sloths the appearance of having a hood. The sloth is so slow that algae growing on it gives it a greenish tint that acts as camouflage in the forest.
The three-toed (Bradypus) are easy to tell apart from the two-toed sloths (Choloepus) which are distant relatives by the blunter muzzle, peg-like teeth and three digits on the forelimbs. This sloth species is from seventeen to eighteen and a half inches in length with a tail that is 1.5 to 2.4 inches long. The pygmy three-toed sloth only weighs from 5.5 to 7.7 pounds.
It is not known for sure but is assumed that the breeding habits of the pygmy sloth is the same as that of other three-toed sloth species. Other sloth species mate and deliver their young while hanging in the trees. The babies will cling to the mother for the first nine months of life, even though they are eating solid foods before this time.
The pygmy three-toed sloth is an arboreal folivores that eat leaves from several types of trees. The sloths have extremely low metabolic rates since this is a diet that doesn’t lead to a lot of energy. The defenses of the sloth are limited to being still to avoid detection by predators and camouflage. Although when the pygmy three-toes sloth is attacked the tough hide and extraordinary grip along with the ability to heal from their wounds gives them the ability to survive.
The range of the pygmy three-toed sloth is restricted to a small island but they are still in danger. It is believed that they are still hunted illegally and that the increasing tourism industry is a threat because of the habitat being destroyed. The pygmy three-toed sloth is considered to be critically endangered.