More than 50% of sloths 'die when they poop', why poop in a dangerous way?

Sloths , who spend most of their lives hanging on trees, come down to the ground to defecate about once a week, but it is said that more than 50% of sloths die 'during defecation'. I will. BioArk , a YouTube channel dealing with animal-related topics, summarizes why sloths die when they defecate, and why they take the risk to defecate from trees.

Why 50% of Sloths Die While Pooping-YouTube

Sloths are animals that live in the rainforests of Central and South America, and are named Sloth because they hang from trees for a long time and hardly move, and even if they move, they move very slowly.

It's a sloth that eats leaves while hanging from a tree when eating ...

About once a week, they come down to the ground to poop.

However, it is a strange choice for sloths who live on trees to go down to the ground and defecate instead of defecation while hanging from a tree.

In a 2014 study , more than half of the adult sloth deaths recorded by the research team were caused by foreign enemies when they descended near the ground during defecation. In other words, getting off a tree and defecation is a very dangerous act for sloths.

In addition, it is estimated that the act of going down to the ground and defecation accounts for 8% of the energy consumed by sloths a day. It is unnatural for sloths, who have survived by establishing a lifestyle that consumes as little energy as possible, to defecate at a very high energy cost.

BioArk points out that a deeper understanding of sloths is important to know why sloths defecate near the ground.

Sloths are classified into the family Sloths and the family Sloths, of which the sloths have three toes on the front legs and the sloths have two toes on the front legs.

The speed of movement is about 13 feet per minute (about 3.9 meters), and even in the event of a crisis, it can only speed up to about 15 feet (about 4.6 meters) per minute.

Surprisingly, sloths can swim, but they still move slowly.

However, the slow movement of sloths also plays a role in protecting themselves from foreign enemies. The main predators of sloths that live on trees are

birds such as harpy eagles , so the slower they move, the less likely they are to be found.

Less movement also helps reduce the amount of energy needed to survive. In addition to leaves, Linnaeus's beetle eats fruits and small lizards, but Miyubina beast eats only leaves. Since the leaves contain less energy, sloths are specialized in reducing energy consumption as a survival strategy.

Sloths sleep for 15 to 18 hours a day, and are rare poikilotherms in mammals, and their body temperature can rise and fall by as much as 5 degrees depending on the outside air. This creates a low-energy state, such as hibernation, and keeps the basal metabolic rate much lower than other mammals.

In addition, normal mammals have 40-45% of their body weight, but sloths have a characteristic of about 30% of their body weight. Sloths that live on trees specialize only in the muscles needed to hang from trees, and may continue to hang on trees even after they die.

On the other hand, muscles that specialize in hanging are not suitable for moving, so the speed of movement is very slow.

Sloths that hang upside down for long periods of time are also known

to have a unique structure that prevents the internal organs from compressing the lungs.

Sloths digest food with the help of intestinal bacteria, so it can take up to 30 days to digest a single leaf. Therefore, when the activity of intestinal bacteria slows down in the cold season, the digestion speed slows down, so it seems that the colder the sloth, the less it eats.

Also, sloth babies grow up sticking to their mothers ...

If the baby falls to the ground, the mother will not go down to the ground to bring it back.

BioArk points out that there is a 'small ecosystem' in the fur of sloths that drastically suppresses such energy consumption, which is related to special defecation habits.

In addition to small mites, moths also inhabit the fur of sloths. This moth is believed to be in a symbiotic relationship with sloths, and is related to the amount of 'algae' that grow on the sloth's fur.

Sloth fur looks green because algae are breeding, not the color of the hair itself. Fur-grown algae not only serve as camouflage in the rainforest, but also as a 'light meal' for sloths. Fur algae are rich in lipids and are thought to help ferment carbohydrates.

The more moths that live in sloth fur, the higher the amount of nitrogen contained in the fur, and the higher the density of algae that feed on it.

And this moth planted eggs in the dung that the sloth dropped on the ground. The larvae feed on dung and grow up, and when they become adults, they take off in search of sloths. That's why BioArk introduces the theory that sloths use moths that are in a symbiotic relationship to grow algae as a light meal, take risks and defecate down to the ground.

The average sloth has 125g of algae, which is 2.6% of its body weight.

If you convert the weight of 2.6% of the body weight into humans, it will be as heavy as a small dog.

The amount of algae growing on the fur is larger in the sloths that eat only leaves than in the food-rich sloths, and it is said that the sloths that go down to the ground and defecate are more common.

On the other hand, it seems that there are pros and cons to the theory that 'take a risk to use the moth that grows algae and go down to the ground to defecate.' Some point out that sloths actually eat fur algae infrequently, while others point out that 'sloth stomachs have found algae growing on the fur.'

There is also a theory that the sloth's defecation pattern is related to the cycle of female estrus, BioArk said, 'The strange defecation habits of sloths are still controversial.'

in Science,   Creature,   Video, Posted by log1h_ik