Habitat of Linnaeus's two-toed sloth. From Wikipedia, for educational purposes only.    Linnaeus’s two toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus) lives exclusively in warm, moist environments, including portions of the following countries: Peru (which also is home to the cocoa plant), Ecuador, Brazil, Columbia, and Venezuela. The rainforests and tropical deciduous forests of South America are particularly well equipped to be the sloth’s home. With elevations below 2,438 meters and an abundance of trees, everything that the sloths need to survive is provided (Adam, 1999). The vegetation of the area is primarily grasses and open rainforest and the land itself is mostly flat and is exposed to flooding on a seasonal basis. April begins the rainy season, which lasts until August, and the mean annual precipitation is 1750 mm. September begins the dry season, which lasts until March. 32°C is the normal yearly temperature (Delibes et al., 2011).

    The diet of Choloepus didactylus is mostly still unknown due to their nocturnal feeding habits, but it is hypothesized that they mostly eat the vegetation found on tropical trees, particularly the leaves, berries, fruits and small, manageable pieces of twigs (Felton- Church, 2000; Adam, 1999). The sloths spend the majority of their lives hanging on the tree branches in the environment. Choloepus didactylus prefers dense areas of the forests abundant in vines and tree crowns connecting one tree to the next, providing them a means of moving between trees above the ground (Adam, 1999).

    Linnaeus’s two-toed sloths share the habitat with other animals adapted exclusively for the tropical and deciduous rainforests, including a variety of snakes, monkeys, bats, anteaters, tree frogs, and toucans. The territory of Linnaeus’s sloths is also shared with Bradypus variegatuss. This results in competition for food, since all of the species share a similar diet (Adam, 1999). The sloths also share their home with jaguars, pumas, ocelots, marguays, and harpy eagles, which are the primary predators of Choloepus didactylus (Adam, 1999; Delibes et al., 2011).

    The habitat of Linnaeus’s two toed sloth is steadily decreasing due to the deforestation of the South American rainforests to clear room for farming, residential areas, and ranching. Such loss of land inhabited by native species causes a drastic reduction in the biodiversity of the ecosystem (Peery & Pauli, 2014). Due to Linnaeus’s sloth’s sessile lifestyle, they have a very low metabolism, which prevents them from having a quick and efficient dispersal ability when compared to the other species that share the same environments. This, combined with the sloth’s need to live in forested areas, causes the sloths to be more susceptible to deforestation of the landscape (Peery & Pauli, 2014). However, Choloepus didactylus has experienced the least amount of relocation and habitat loss of the other South American sloths, including Choloepus hoffmanni (Moreno & Plese, 2006).

    Recent endeavors to restore the South American sloths’ natural habitat includes planting shade-grown cacao plants. The goal is that such ‘agro-ecosystems’ will increase the biodiversity of such neotropical environments, thus increasing the population birth rate and the survival rate of the sloths (Peery & Pauli, 2014).