Best time to travel to Rio de Janeiro

Three-Toed Sloth Mating Season in Rio de Janeiro

The usually solitary sloths gather only for mating and this is when they're most active

Best time: April–June

Three-Toed Sloth Mating Season
Three-Toed Sloth Mating Season

Considering the fact that a sloth diet consists mostly of leaves and plants with a very low nutritional value, they don't have much energy and are very slow, so slow that moss sometimes grows on its fur. In fact, they are the slowest mammals in the world. They live on the tops of the trees and are usually solitary. But during the mating season, all this changes. The three-toed sloths become more active, and they come together to mate. Female sloths scream to get the male's attention, and then males move forward and sometimes have to fight each other.

When baby sloths are born, they hold onto their mother's back for six to nine months and learn what vegetation is good to eat. The mating season usually occurs at the beginning of the dry season when there's more food. Visitors have a good chance to spot sloths at The Chico Mendes Ecological Reserve in Recreio. Jardim Botânico in Rio de Janeiro has some sloth species as well.

Practical info

What is the mating season of three-toed sloths in Rio de Janeiro?

Three-toed sloths in Rio de Janeiro usually mate from April to June. During this period, they become active and gather together for mating. Visitors can observe this at The Chico Mendes Ecological Reserve in Recreio and Jardim Botânico in Rio de Janeiro. Show more

Where can sloths be easily sighted during their breeding season in Rio de Janeiro?

The Chico Mendes Ecological Reserve in Recreio and Jardim Botânico in Rio de Janeiro are known for their variety of flora and fauna, including sloths. During sloths’ breeding season, these slow-moving animals are easily observed in their natural habitat in these reserves. Show more

What is the reason behind sloths’ low energy level despite their continuous eating?

Three-toed sloths eat primarily leaves and other plants that are low in nutritional value, making it difficult to digest and absorb. Since they mostly live on top of trees and move less, it slows their metabolism down, resulting in reduced energy levels. This sluggishness conserves energy and is beneficial for them, but makes them less active, except during the breeding season. Show more

How do female sloths attract males to breed in the breeding season?

Female sloths create a loud sound to attract male sloths during breeding season. Besides the sound, females also release scent, indicating their sexual readiness. Males approach the female, and if multiple males are present, they compete with each other by fighting. The strongest male eventually gets to mate with the female. Show more

How long do sloth offspring cling onto their mother's back before becoming independent about food?

Sloths hold onto their mother's back for around six to nine months before they start eating vegetation independently. They learn various survival skills from their mothers during this period, such as finding the best food sources and avoiding predators. Sloths are slow in reproducing and give birth to only one offspring per year. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin