Some people love exotic pets. But do wild animals, like sloths, make good pets? We're here to tell you why keeping sloths as pets is (unfortunately!) a bad idea.
Baby sloths are undeniably one of the cutest wild animals out there. These exotic animals are a joy to watch. It's fun to see them hang upside-down on trees (which they do A LOT!), their laziness is enough to make us jealous, and of course, they are super cute and cuddly!
Spurred by the huge amount of wildlife selfies taken with wild animals from the amazon, especially #slothselfies, on social media, more people are considering keeping sloths as pets in the United States. Hey, we get it: their cuteness definitely rubs off on you, plus they are quiet, and their slow and calm movements even makes them very soothing to watch. But does a sloth make a good pet? This is why a pet sloth is, most definitely, a bad idea: they do not make good pets. (Let alone finding one in a typical pet store!)
Why Sloths Are Not Good Pets
There are two types of sloths: the two-toed sloth and the three-toed sloth. Despite the very slow and calm demeanor of either type of sloths, two-toed sloths can be very aggressive if they feel threatened -- and yes, they'll bite! Three-toed sloths, on the other hand, are more docile. But they are endangered, and also don't do well in captivity.
Sloths require a specialized diet. They eat leaves, but not just any leaves you can get from a grocery store: these leaf eaters eat leaves native to trees only found in Central and South America. Feeding a captive sloth might get difficult because of the specialty of their diet -- adult sloths require a special diet because of their complex digestive system.
These wild animals also need a consistently warm and humid environment. For your pet sloth to be happy and comfortable, you would have to recreate their natural habitat of rainforests in Central and South America, where it's very hot and humid; sloths like to hang in warm and wet rainforest trees that can be quite difficult to replicate at home. They also need an enclosure with lots of tall branches to hang from for the majority of their time!
Pro tip: sloths have very low body temperature and cannot stand the cold. Just an FYI to those wannabe sloth pet owners who live in colder climates!
These are just some of the things that make sloths not a good pet. Let's also not forget that sloths are wild animals and cannot be domesticated. They maintain their natural instincts and typically don't like to be petted, groomed, or bathed. Sloths often don't show obvious external signs of stress either, so watch out for those crazy long and sharp claws, as well as their large teeth that can cause serious injury when they are scared.
Trust us, as cute as sloths are, you're better off just sticking to looking at pics of sloths online!
Have you ever thought of having a sloth as a pet? Let us know on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page!