Nayara’s Sloth Sanctuary

Nayara’s Sloth Sanctuary

Thanks to reforestation Nayara Resorts in Costa Rica has become a refuge for one of the cutest animals in the rainforest: sloths

The main threat to sloths’ survival is habitat destruction.  At our resorts in Costa Rica, we have been painstakingly planting trees for more than ten years to bring back the rainforest.  We’re happy to report that our efforts are paying off since many sloths have come back to live under our protection.  

Costa Rica is home to two of the four sloth species: the three-toed and the two-toed sloths. They are present on the Pacific and Caribbean slopes in both pristine and disturbed forests.  At Nayara Resorts we see both kinds of sloths but mainly the two-toed one, which is the most common in the country. 

The leaves of the cecropia tree, commonly refer to as the “Guarano Tree” are among the sloths’ favorite foods. The animals are very slow because these leaves are low-energy food. Low body temperatures and metabolic rates compensate for the poor energy input of their daily rations. The two-toed sloth has the lowest and most variable body temperature of all mammals, 24 to 33 degrees Celsius (77 to 96 F).

Sloths’ habits are strange. They descend from trees only once a week to urinate and defecate, sometimes evacuating as much as a third of their body weight at a time on these occasions. The cause of this mysterious pooping habit has not been elucidated by scientists, but the most convincing theory is that because sloths do not move a lot, pooping from trees could draw the attention of predators.

Rather, they take the risk of descending from the trees once a week and become an easy idle target, but shed it all at once and hide it beneath dirt and leaves. That way, they stay unnoticed the rest of the week.