As sloths are so cute and cuddly in appearance, it should be no surprise that they are popular with exotic pet enthusiasts. Two-toed sloths, in particular, tend to make suitable pets for owners who can take on the unique needs of such an animal. These needs will include a special diet and access to a plethora of trees that the sloth can climb on. Further, anyone interested in owning a sloth as a pet needs to understand that these animals can live up to 30 years, making ownership quite the commitment.
This said, there are not all that many legal breeding facilities where exotic pet enthusiasts can purchase a sloth. Unfortunately, many people either knowingly, or unknowingly, buy a sloth through illegal trade practices, and this is especially common with three-toed sloths.
If you are interested in owning a sloth, it is essential to check your state and local laws to understand the legalities in your particular area. And if indeed you find that sloth ownership is permitted where you live, be sure to read on so that you can confirm that you can create a suitable environment in which your pet sloth can thrive.
What Sloth Owners Need to Know
As sloths spend their time in trees, they have long curved claws at the end of their arms and legs, which do not work like typical hands and feet. These claws can make it difficult, if not impossible, for a sloth to comfortably transport himself across a room. Where trees are not available, sloth-owners need to be able to provide logs, poles, or other branch-type items so that the sloth can move from place to place. Additionally, sloth owners need to be able to replicate the dry and humid climate in which sloths thrive. This requires conditions of approximately 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 to 90 percent humidity.
Needs aside, sloths prefer not to be touched or handled by humans. And though we have all seen videos of baby sloths getting a bath at a sanctuary or rescue center, in general, sloths prefer not to be bathed, groomed, or otherwise petted. A sloth’s natural instinct is to remain still when it is stressed. This behavior and reaction to human interaction can be confusing to humans who may interpret the behavior that the sloth is relaxed and enjoying the experience. However, it is more than likely that the sloth is merely reverting to its natural instinct to still itself to stay safe and away from harm.