Choloepus hoffmanni 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Pilosa Megalonychidae

Scientific Name: Choloepus hoffmanni W. Peters, 1858
Common Name(s):
English Hoffmann's Two-toed Sloth
French Unau D'Hoffmann
Spanish Perezoso, Perico Ligero, Unau
Taxonomic Notes: Five subspecies are recognized by Gardner and Naples (2007).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-10-06
Assessor(s): Plese, T. & Chiarello, A.
Reviewer(s): Abba, A.M. & Superina, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Abba, A.M.
Choloepus hoffmanni is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, its occurrence in a number of protected areas, its tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a threatened category. However, because of ongoing deforestation, the northern population (nominate subspecies) of this species could potentially be assessed as Near Threatened.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Choloepus hoffmanni has two disjunct populations. The northernmost population ranges from Nicaragua south into western Venezuela. The southern population is found from north-central Peru through extreme western Brazil (south-western Amazonas and probably Acre states) to central Bolivia. There is a doubtful, outlying record for this species from the Rio Aripuanã, Mato Grosso state, Brazil (Fonseca and Aguiar 2004). Its range within Brazil is unclear, and further surveys are needed.
This species ranges from sea level to 3,300 m Asl in Costa Rica; up to 1,925 m Asl in Panama; and up to 1,150 m Asl in the southern Andes of Venezuela. In Colombia, the species is found in the biogeographical regions of the Andean zone, Caribbean and Chocó, more specifically in the departments of Cauca, Chocó, Cundinamarca, Nariño, Quindío, Sucre, Valle del Cauca, and Santanderes from sea level up to 3,200 m Asl (Alberico et al. 2000, Moreno 2003, Morales-Jiménez et al. 2004, Acevedo and Sanchez 2007).
Countries occurrence:
Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil (Acre, Amazonas); Colombia (Colombia (mainland)); Costa Rica (Costa Rica (mainland)); Ecuador (Ecuador (mainland)); Honduras (Honduras (mainland)); Nicaragua (Nicaragua (mainland)); Panama; Peru; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of (Venezuela (mainland))
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):3300
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Choloepus hoffmanni occurs at densities of 1.05 animals per hectare on Barro Colorado Island, Panama (Montgomery and Sunquist 1975). It has been found at densities of 0.3 to 1.5 animals per hectare in the Andean region of Colombia, while densities in the lowlands of northern Colombia were 0.2 to 0.83 individuals per hectare (Alvarez 2004, Acevedo and Sanchez 2007).

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Choloepus hoffmanni is largely found in lowland and montane tropical forest, both deciduous and mixed-deciduous. In Central America, it occurs in evergreen and semi-deciduous tropical moist forest, as well as in secondary forest, but it is rare or absent in lowland dry forest. In Costa Rica, it is able to use cocoa plantations (Theobroma cacao) as habitat (Vaughan et al. 2007, Peery and Pauli 2012) and frequently ventures into relatively open pastures in search of isolated feeding trees (Vaughan et al. 2007). It can also occur in dry grassland with thorny shrubs and trees (Nicaragua, Genoways and Timm 2003). These sloths are rather solitary. In cocoa farms of Costa Rica, the mating system involves a mixture of polygyny with promiscuity, the sex ratio is female-biased and male home ranges vary from 1.1 to 139.5 ha (Peery and Pauli 2012). Their herbivore-omnivore diet consists mainly of leaves, fruits and sap of some trees.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: In some parts of its range, C. hoffmanni is hunted for food and to be sold as a pet to tourists.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It appears that there are no major threats to C. hoffmanni at the global level. Nevertheless, subpopulations in the northwestern part of its range, especially in Colombia and Central America, are declining due to severe habitat degradation and fragmentation. Furthermore, they are hunted by indigenous communities. Wild-caught individuals, especially offspring, are sold as pets to tourists in Colombia (Moreno and Plese 2006). This illegal trade is increasing and represents a cause of concern due to its impact on the wild population.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Choloepus hoffmanni is present in many protected areas. It is included in CITES Appendix III for Costa Rica. Further research is needed to establish whether there are taxonomic differences between the two disjunct populations.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.6. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Moist
suitability:Marginal season:resident 
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Marginal season:resident 
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Area based regional management plan:No
  Invasive species control or prevention:No
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:Yes
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.1. Shifting agriculture
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.2. Wood & pulp plantations -> 2.2.3. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.1. Species Action/Recovery Plan
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.2. Area-based Management Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.3. Trade trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Acevedo, J.F. and Sanchez, D.P. 2007. Abundancia y preferencia de hábitat de Bradypus variegatus y Choloepus hoffmanni, durante la época seca en Arboletes, Antioquia. Universidad de Antioquia.

Alberico, M., Cadena, A., Hernández-Camacho, J. and Muñoz-Saba, Y. 2000. Mamíferos (Synapsida: Theria) de Colombia. Biota Colombiana 1(1): 43-75.

Alvarez, S.J. 2004. Densidad y preferencia de hábitat del perezoso de dos dedos Choloepus hoffmanni, en un bosque andino (Boyacá, Cundinamarca). Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Anderson, S. 1997. Mammals of Bolivia: Taxonomy and distribution. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 231: 1–652.

Baillie, J. and Groombridge, B. (comps and eds). 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Chiarello, A.G. 2008. Sloth ecology: an overview of field studies. In: S.F. Vizcaíno and W.L. Loughry (eds), The Biology of the Xenarthra, pp. 269-280. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, FL, USA.

Eisenberg, J.F. 1989. Mammals of the Neotropics. The Northern Neotropics. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA and London, UK.

Eisenberg, J.F. and Redford, K.H. 1999. Mammals of the Neotropics. The Central Neotropics. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.

Emmons, L.H. and Feer, F. 1997. Neotropical Rainforest Mammals: A Field Guide, Second edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, USA.

Fonseca, G.A.B. da and Aguiar, J.M. 2004. The 2004 Edentate Species Assessment Workshop. Edentata 6: 1-26.

Gardner, A.L. 1993. Order Xenarthra. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Gardner, A.L. 2005. Order Pilosa. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Gardner, A.L. 2007. Magnorder Xenarthra. In: A.L. Gardner (ed.), Mammals of South America, pp. 127-176. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Gardner A.L. and V.L. Naples. 2007. Family Megalonychidae P. Gervais, 1855. In: A.L. Gardner (ed.), Mammals of South America, Volume 1, pp. 165-168. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.

Genoways, H.H. and Timm, R.M. 2003. The xenarthrans of Nicaragua. Mastozoología Neotropical 10(2): 205-227.

Gilmore, D., Duarte, D.F. and Peres da Costa, C. 2008. The physiology of two- and three-toed sloths. In: S.F. Vizcaíno and W. J. Loughry (eds), The biology of the Xenarthra, pp. 130-142. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

Hayssen, V. 2011. Choloepus hoffmanni (Pilosa: Megalonychidae). Mammalian Species 43(873): 37-55.

IUCN. 2014. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2014).

Montgomery, G.G. and Sunquist, M.E. 1975. Impact of sloths on Neotropical forest energy flow and nutrient cycling. In: F.B. Golley and E. Medina (eds), Tropical ecological systems; trends in terrestrial and aquatic research, pp. 69-98. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Morales-Jiménez, A.L., Sánchez, F., Poveda, K. and Cadena, A. 2004. Mamíferos terrestres y voladores de Colombia, guía de campo. Ramos López Editorial, Bogotá.

Moreno, S. 2003. Estado de la distribución, hábitat y estimación de estado de conservación del perezoso de dos uñas (Choloepus hoffmanni) en el área de jurisdicción de Corantioquia. In: Fundación Unau (ed.). Corantioquia, Medellín.

Moreno, S. and Plese, T. 2006. The illegal traffic in sloths and threats to their survival in Colombia. Edentata 6: 10-18.

Noss, A., Cuéllar, E., Tarifa, T., Vargas, J. and Aliaga-Rossel, E. 2010. Myrmecophagidae, Cyclopedidae, Bradypodidae y Megalonychidae. In: R.B. Wallace, H. Gómez, Z.R. Porcel and D. I. Rumiz (eds), Distribución, ecología y conservación de los mamíferos medianos y grandes de Bolivia, pp. 213-234. Centro de Ecología Difusión Simón I. Patiño, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.

Pacheco, V., de Macedo, H., Vivar, E., Ascorra, C.F., Arana-Cardó, R. and Solari, S. 1995. Lista anotada de los mamíferos peruanos. Occasional Papers in Conservation Biology 2: 1-35.

Peery, M.Z. and Pauli, J.N. 2012. The mating system of a 'lazy' mammal, Hoffmann's two-toed sloth. Animal Behavior 84: 555-562.

Reid, F. 2009. A Field Guide to the Mammals of Central America and Southeast Mexico. Oxford University Press, New York, USA.

Salazar Bravo, J.A., Redford, K.H. and Stearman, A.M. 1990. Hoffman's two-fingered sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni Peters, 1859; Megalonychidae) in Bolivia. Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (Bolivia) 9: 18–21.

Tirira, D. 1999. Mamiferos del Ecaudor. Museo de Zoologia, Centro de Biodiversidad y Ambiente, Pontifica Universidad Católica del Ecaudor and Sociedad para la Investigación y Monitoreo de la Biodiversidad Ecuatoriana, Quito, Ecuador.

Tirira, D.G. 2007. Guía de Campo de los Mamíferos del Ecuador. Ediciones Murciélago Blanco. Publicación especial sobre los mamíferos del Ecuador 6, Quito, Ecuador.

Vaughan, C., Ramirez, O., Herrera, G. and Guries, R. 2007. Spatial ecology and conservation of two sloth species in a cacao landscape in Limón, Costa Rica. Biodiversity and Conservation 16: 2293-2310.

Wetzel, R.M. 1982. Systematics, distribution, ecology, and conservation of South American edentates. In: M.A. Mares and H.H. Genoways (eds), Mammalian Biology in South America, pp. 345–375. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Citation: Plese, T. & Chiarello, A. 2014. Choloepus hoffmanni. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T4778A47439751. . Downloaded on 20 June 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided