Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Breaking news - sloths are not slothful

Not so fast, Mr Sloth. From The Telegraph:

The sloth has earned an unfair reputation for laziness and does not sleep for nearly as long as first thought, scientists have discovered.

In the first scientific study of sleep in wild animals, researchers found the sloth only sleeps for nine and a half hours a day, six hours fewer than previously thought.

The animal, which spends much of its time hanging from the canopy of the rainforest in South and Central America and eating leaves, was believed to get at least 16 hours sleep a day.

Scientists monitored the sloth’s sleeping pattern using two sensors on a hat to pick up signals from the brain to show when the animal was sleeping and when it was chewing.


The team found that sloths in captivity slept for nearly 16 hours while those in the wild slept for just nine and a half hours.

From the leading article:

Perhaps, inside, the sloth has been seething with indignation at the calumny against its character. In which case, it might instead be called the wrath. Certainly it shows few signs to justify a redesignation as the lust. Names stick, though. To vary the proverb: give a sloth a bad name and hang it. Except, in the case of the undemanding sloth, hanging is already something of a speciality.

In other news, an octogenarian mayfly comforts an infertile rabbit.

Posted on 05/14/2008 6:50 AM by Mary Jackson
14 May 2008
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While it's widely known that the species which spends the greatest percentage of its time in sleep (100%) is the Norwegian Blue, it should be noted that the Norwegian Green Sloth (its colour derived from the presence of symbiotic cyanobacteria), which, like its South American cousins, swims well, has been observed fording for the pines. 
As noted by Wikipedia, "Females normally bear one baby every year, but sometimes sloths' low level of movement actually keeps females from finding males for longer than one year."  Which could explain difficulties in getting sloths to breed in captivity: the lack of excitement in the chase. Some breeders have reported success after playing the following at 33 1/3 rpm:
While "sloth" is a human trait, I find sloths themselves, reflexively speaking, given that I myself am slothful, to be alien, and wonder why their coats, like those which hang in a closet too long, aren't ravaged by moths.
Ode To An Omen Of Acherontia Atropos
Or: Rock-A-Bye Bradypodidae,
Or: Bend & Break Sinister
Come winged dryad of the breeze,
Come friendly boughs and fall on sloth,
And crush the cradle of the trees,
Good night for death, good night for moth.
(Apologies to Nabokov, Keats & Betjeman)
*Hat tip to Un Chien Andalou

14 May 2008
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 Erratumescence: The above should have read "Norwegian Blue Parrot".
And just how did that mayfly "comfort" the cunicular creature?  Cunnilingus?

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