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Sloths are arboreal mammals noted for slowness of movement and for spending most of their lives hanging upside down in the trees of the tropical rainforests of South America and Central America. The six species are in two families: two-toed sloths and three-toed sloths. In spite of this traditional naming, all sloths actually have three toes. The two-toed sloths have two digits, or fingers, on each forelimb.The sloth is so named because of its very low metabolism and deliberate movements, sloth being related to the word slow. This is an evolutionary adaptation to their low-energy diet of leaves, and to avoid detection by predatory hawks and cats who hunt by sight. Sloths are almost helpless on the ground, but are able to swim. The grooved hairs of the sloth's shaggy coat is a host to symbiotic green algae which helps the sloth camouflage itself in the trees, and provides nutrients to the sloth. The algae in turn nourishes sloth moths, some species of which exist solely on sloths.They are classified in the order Pilosa along with the anteaters. Extinct sloth species include many megafaunal ground sloths, some of which attained the size of elephants, as well as marine sloths.

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