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The Sex Lives Of Sloths

by Lucy Cooke
28 February 2012

Did you knows that Sloths are sexual gymnasts? Us neither. But a new programme that starts this Sunday on Animal Planet will tell you everything you need to know about these lazy blighters...

In a sleepy corner of Costa Rica there’s a very peculiar sanctuary. The only one in the world devoted to saving orphaned and injured sloths.

For the past year I’ve been making a documentary about this curious place and it’s somnolent residents. ‘Meet the sloths’ premieres this Sunday March 4th at 8pm on Animal Planet. It’s a very funny film about a bunch of sloths whose lives are not as sleepy as you might think.

The sanctuary is run by celebrated sloth whisperer Judy Arroyo and is home to over 160 sloths. Many arrive as orphaned babies whose mother’s have been zapped by power lines or hit by cars.

Judy does her best to be a sloth mom and teach the babies how to be a sloth — potty training and how to climb are key parts of their sloth school curriculum. But at present she doesn’t know how to teach them what leaves are safe to eat. The Costa Rican jungle is a veritable pharmacy of toxic trees and sloths are adapted to eat just a handful of species.

Sex, it would seem, is the only thing a sloth does quickly

So Judy’s hand-raised orphans remain guests at her exclusive five-star retreat for the rest of their lives. There they are lovingly cared for and have their every whim catered for. But there is just one house rule. No sex. With the sanctuary full to bursting Judy really doesn’t want any more baby sloths.

But the problem they have is that when the sanctuary females are in heat they scream. For sex. This attracts male wild sloths from up to 700m away. For twenty years a steady stream of creeping Casanova’s have beaten a slow path to the sanctuary to try their luck with the ladies.

These wild Lotharios are remarkably persistent and my film features one particularly cheeky male whom Judy christened Randy. His exploits led me to believe that sloths have in fact been named after the wrong deadly sin. Lust would be far more appropriate. The documentary is the first to ever feature wild sloths mating. Not only is it remarkably athletic but it’s all over and done with in about 5 seconds. Sex, it would seem, is the only thing a sloth does quickly. premiers

Meet the Sloths premieres at 8pm on Animal Planet.

If you want to know more about sloths then visit

Other animal antics you might like…

I’d Like To Ride A Giraffe Into The West End

Country Living: Hunting The Wild Boar Of East Sussex

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