The Hoffman's Sloth (choloepus hoffmanni) is a slow-moving arboreal mammal native to South America. It can be found in mountainous tropical rainforest habitats.
The Hoffman's Sloth is classified as a two-toed sloth. The two-toed sloth, genus Choloepus, branched off from its cousin the three toed sloth, genus Bradypus 34-40 million years ago, much farther back than most animals that are now as similar in appearance, habitat and diet as the two sloth genera.
Like all sloths, Hoffman's Sloths spend most of their time hanging upside-down from trees, move very slowly and have extremely slow metabolisms. This is largely an adaptation to their diet--although they are omnivores and will eat insects, small reptiles, and carrion when they have an opportunity, sloths subsist mainly on leaves, shoots and buds.
Because this diet takes a long time to digest and doesn't provide much energy or nutrition for the amount of food consumed, sloths avoid expending energy as much as possible. An adult sloth will come down from the trees once a week to urinate and defecate; their large, complex stomachs and slow digestion mean they only need to eliminate once every six or seven days.
A sloth's main form of defense is its long claws, which are usually used to grip its branch. When threatened by a predator, a sloth may swipe at it with its claws in an attempt to scare it away, and can move about fifteen feet (4.5 meters) per minute, only a bit faster than its usual speed. However, since they blend in so well with their surroundings and have few natural predators (jaguars, large eagles and human poachers), sloths rarely have to confront this danger.
In some places, sloths are the most numerous land mammal in their territory. Although just one of the six existing species of sloths, Bradypus torquatus, is considered endangered today, deforestation has the potential to cause extensive habitat loss and possible endangerment for other sloth species in the future.