Choloepus didactylus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Pilosa Megalonychidae

Scientific Name: Choloepus didactylus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Linné's Two-toed Sloth, Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloth, Southern Two-toed Sloth, Unau
Spanish Perezoso de Dos Dedos, Perico Ligero

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-10-06
Assessor(s): Chiarello, A. & Plese, T.
Reviewer(s): Abba, A.M. & Superina, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Abba, A.M.
Choloepus didactylus is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, its occurrence in a number of protected areas, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a threatened category.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Choloepus didactylus ranges through Venezuela (the delta and south of the Río Orinoco) and the Guianas (French Guiana, Guyana, and Suriname) south into Brazil (Maranhão state west along the Rio Amazonas/Solimões) and west into the upper Amazon Basin of Ecuador and Peru. Its southern limit in the western Amazon of Brazil is unclear. It occurs in the southern departments of Colombia, with its northern limit being the departments of Meta and Guainía. It ranges from sea level up to 2,400 m Asl (Britton 1941).
Countries occurrence:
Brazil (Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Maranhão, Pará, Roraima); Colombia (Colombia (mainland)); Ecuador (Ecuador (mainland)); French Guiana; Guyana; Peru; Suriname; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of (Venezuela (mainland))
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2400
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In French Guiana, C. didactylus has been found at densities of 0.9 animals per hectare (Taube et al. 1999). In the Brazilian Amazon, estimated densities range from 0.13 individuals per hectare (Manaus region) to 0.88 animals per hectare in the flooded forests (Mamirauá Reserve; Queiroz 1995, Chiarello 2008).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Choloepus didactylus is found in tropical moist lowland and montane forest. Two-toed sloths have nocturnal and solitary habits. Gestation length seems to be approximately 10 months (Eisenberg and Maliniak 1985) but estimates are quite variable.
There is few information on the diet of wild individuals (Chiarello 2008). A rather unusual observation in the Amazon of north-eastern Peru recorded an adult individual descending to the forest floor to feed on a human latrine (Heymann et al. 2011).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Choloepus didactylus is probably hunted opportunistically, but there is no serious bushmeat trade.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to C. didactylus. Because they are usually found high in the canopy, motionless and virtually invisible, they are not as commonly hunted as armadillos or anteaters, and there are taboos against their consumption by some native groups. They are probably hunted opportunistically, but there is no serious bushmeat trade.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Choloepus didactylus is present in many protected areas.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Marginal season:resident 
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
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:No
1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Adam, P.J. 1999. Choloepus didactylus. Mammalian Species 621: 1-8.

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

Britton, S.W. 1941. Form and function in the sloth. Quarterly Review of Biology 16(1): 13-34.

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.

de Queiroz, H.L. 1995. Preguiças e Guaribas: Os Mamíferos Folívoros Arborícolos do Mamirauá. Ministério de Ciência e Tecnologia (MCT) – CNPq. Sociedade Civil Mamirauá, Brasília e Tefé, Brazil.

Eisenberg, J.F. and Maliniak, E. 1985. Maintenance and reproduction of the two-toed sloth, Choloepus didactylus, in captivity. In: Montgomery, G.G. (ed.), The evolution and ecology of armadillos, sloths, and vermilinguas, pp. 327-331. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington and London.

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

Engstrom, M. and Lim, B. 2000. Checklist of the mammals of Guyana. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

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.

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.

Hall, E.R. 1981. The Mammals of North America. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA.

Heymann, E.W., Amasifuén, C.F., Tello, N.S., Herrera, E.R.T. and Stojan-Dolar, M. 2011. Disgusting appetite: two-toed sloths feeding in human latrines. Mammalian Biology 76: 84-86.

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

Losada, T. 2007. Conocimiento local y uso sobre los perezosos por la comunidad indígena Jusy Monilla Amena, Amazonas - Colombia. Facultad de Estudios Ambientales y Rurales, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.

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

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.

Taube, E., Keravec, J., Vié, J.-C. and Duplantier, J.-M. 2001. Reproductive biology and postnatal development in sloths, Bradypus and Choloepus: review with original data from the field (French Guiana) and from the captivity. Mammalian Review 31(3): 173-188.

Taube, E., Vié, J.-C., Fournier, P., Genty, C. and Duplantier, J.-M. 1999. Distribution of two sympatric species of sloths (Choleopus didactylus and Bradypus tridactylus) along the Sinnamary River, French Guiana. Biotropica 31: 686–691.

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.

Citation: Chiarello, A. & Plese, T. 2014. Choloepus didactylus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T4777A47439542. . Downloaded on 25 June 2018.
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