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Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus spp.) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat

Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus spp.)

Distribution

  • Limited to Central and South America. The 2 species are partially sympatric (overlap) in the Andean regions and western Amazonia. Both overlap with the 3-toed sloth.
  • Choloepus didactylus (Columbia - east of Andes, Venezuela, Guianas, Ecuador, Peru and N. Brazil)
    • Ranges from sea level up to 2,438 m (7,999 ft) (Britton 1941).
    • Native to: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela.
  • Choloepus hoffmanni — 2 disjunct populations
    • Range from sea level to 3,300 m (10,827 ft) in Panama; up to 1,150 m (3773 ft) in the southern Andes of Venezuela.
      • Northernmost population ranges from Nicaragua south into western Venezuela
      • Southern population is found from north-central Peru, through extreme southwestern Brazil (southwestern Amazon and probably Acre) to central Bolivia.
      • There is a doubtful record for this species from the Aripuana, Mato Grosso State, Brazil (F. Avilla-Pires, pers. commun). The range of the species within Brazil is unclear and further surveys are needed.
        Native to: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Venezuela

Habitat

  • Limited to humid, warm, well-established tropical and cloud forests
  • Trees with interlacing crowns allow for lateral movement without descending to ground (descend approximately weekly to defecate)
  • Prefer crowns of trees with lianas to provide cover from predators and shelter from sun during the day.
  • Trees also provide body support for sleeping — no nest building
  • Other factors that determine habitat selection
    • Physiological state of animal and plants
    • Recent history of movement and feeding
    • Social inheritance of mother's home range and tree preference
    • Plant species diversity where the animal lives
    • Seasonal changes in plant composition & availability

Two-toed Sloths Distribution

Distribution of two species of two-toed sloths

Two-toed sloths live in Central and northern South America.

Click below for each species' detailed distribution (from IUCN):

Red box: Linné's two-toed sloth, Choloepus didactylus
Black box: Hoffman's two-toed sloth, Choloepus hoffmanni

Adapted from www.d-maps.com according to each species' IUCN fact sheet: Choloepus didactylus and C. hoffmanni.

Page Citations

Emmons (1990)
Gilmore (2008)
Merritt (2006)
Montgomery and Sunquist (1973)

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