Like all other placental mammals, the offspring of the two-toed sloth remains in the womb of the mother for a period of time and then the female gives birth to the (mostly) developed young. Like other mammalian creatures, two-toed sloths reproduce sexually in which a female egg is fertilized by a male sperm cell.  Sloths mate between the months of September and November, generally known as the dry period of the climate. When females are in heat they will often scream to attract nearby males. The whole process of mating takes a very short amount of time-as short as 5 seconds. Mating, like other sloth functions, occurs while hanging from tree branches.

Adult female two toed sloth with young    Female C. didactylus can begin reproducing around three years of age with males maturing around four to five years and the female usually has one offspring a year (Klein, n.d.). A characteristic of all mammals, the sloth produces milk for the offspring until it is matured enough to begin an adult diet of leaves and insects. Taube (as cited in Feldhamer, 2007) found that gestation period for a two-toed sloth is around 10 months (but can range from around 7-11) and when the baby is born, it weighs around 12 ounces (Felton-Church, 2000). As the sloth spends almost its whole life up in a tree, even birth occurs while hanging from a branch. Often, this can be a tragic process as in some cases the newly born sloth falls to its death during birth. When this happens, the mother will generally stay up in the tree and abandon the young, as its cries will attract predators (Klein, n.d.).

    The young are able to grip the belly of the mother immediately after birth and don’t gain independence till a minimum of 5 months, 2.5 months after weaning has occurred (Adam, 1999). Mothers and their offspring often remain in nearby areas and associate with one another for up to two years after birth (Taube, 1998). Two-toed sloths are generally long-lived, even more so in captivity where they can reach up to 31 years of age (Feldhamer, 2007). In the wild, sloths do not reach that high of an age, but if an individual survives the high infant mortality rate and lives to maturity, the survival outlook is generally good.