Why do sloths only poo once a week?

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - OUR WILDWORLD - Becky Cliffe

ASloths are no­to­ri­ous for their weekly bath­room habits, car­ried out at the base of spe­cific trees. The in­fre­quence is a means of self­p­reser­va­tion: head­ing to the for­est floor re­quires a lot of en­ergy, and sloths are ex­tremely vul­ner­a­ble to pre­da­tion while on the ground. As­ton­ish­ingly, sloths can store up to a third of their body­weight in fae­ces, and lug­ging the ex­tra bag­gage around is dif­fi­cult for an en­ergy-lim­ited an­i­mal. There must be a se­lec­tive ad­van­tage to such a spe­cific bath­room rou­tine, yet we’re still not sure ex­actly what that is. Re­cent ev­i­dence sug­gests that it is likely to do with com­mu­ni­cat­ing ter­ri­to­rial and re­pro­duc­tive in­for­ma­tion via pheromones in the drop­pings. If the sloths just let ev­ery­thing go from the canopy, these im­por­tant mes­sages would eas­ily be lost.

Na­ture calls just once a week for sloths, which means a fully laden jour­ney to the ground.

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