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Image: Sloth sitting up in a tree looking at the camera

Life Advice from the Slowest Mammal on Earth!

Could the slowest animal in the world teach us something about being better, even healthier humans in this busy world? The sloth’s number one cheerleader, Lucy Cooke, lets us in on their sleepy secrets in one of the funniest and most fascinating talks you’ve likely heard in a long while!

Sloths see life a little differently than we do—although hanging upside down for most of their lives will do that, I suppose.

Their key to survival has been slowing down, in every way possible. But there’s a lot more happening with these slumbering tree-dwellers than may meet the eye at first glance! So in this article, we’re pausing our own busy lives for a moment to look a little closer at what the slowest mammal on earth is up to. And along the way, we’ll meet a few of the people helping them stick around in our fast-paced world.

Image: Sloth sitting up in a tree looking at the camera
Source: Wikimedia Commons

What the Sloth has Learned Over Millions of Years and Why You Should Pay Attention.

Because of their slow lifestyles, it’s a bit baffling to imagine that the sloth may be onto something here, let alone something that could actually help us with our own lives.

While our own time is full of quick decisions and a constant desire for fast—faster cars, faster internet, faster progressions in life—theirs contains the very parts of life that most of us take for granted: sleep and relaxation.

Surviving on only 100 calories a day and sporting an ecosystem in their hair, these slow-to-move, and slow-to-digest cuties may have very well found the ticket for survival! Having been around for over 30 million years, the humble sloth can act as a reminder in our own busy lives that slowing down can be good for us.

They take their time, slowly moving from place to place and doing whatever they can—even evolving with more neck muscles—to conserve their energy. They spend their days munching on leaves, digesting them, and basking in the sun. Meanwhile, most of us are running around exhausted, depleted of the energy we need to take care of ourselves after accomplishing everything else we’re required to do. (Or, very often, those tasks that we’ve pressured our own selves to do to speed up the progression of our “success”.)

But let’s take a page from the sloth’s book, shall we?

These animals are marvels of the natural world. We often celebrate the quickness, largeness, and ferociousness of the other animals we share the world with, but sloths are doing things quite a bit differently than everyone else. So now’s the time to sit back, grab a little snack, and absorb the wisdom that has kept sloths thriving for over these 30 million years.

Lucy Cooke, a National Geographic explorer, zoologist, New York Times best-selling author, and founder of the Sloth Appreciation Society will help us uncover the magical slow lifestyles of this leisurely creature!

Her TED Talk is one of the best and most entertaining we’ve ever curated on EWC. And I couldn’t be more excited to present this to you! Why not slow down a bit today and enjoy this hilarious and thoughtful talk?

Via: TED 1

Now, make sure you head on over to Slothville to learn more about these awesome creatures and get yourself a few tips on slowing down. You can also stay up to date with Lucy’s work by checking out her website, or by following her on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook!

You can explore thousands of other fantastic TED Talks over on their website and YouTube channel! Or, may I suggest checking out the other great ones we’ve already curated for you? Click here to see our entire library.

Do as the Sloths Do

As Lucy says in the video, we could very well benefit from taking a slowly-digested leaf from the sloth’s book. Slowing down, being mindful of what we do, reducing the waste that we produce out of convenience, being economical with the energy that we put into activities in our lives, and recycling can all benefit us in a multitude of ways.

When we take a moment to pause, we’re giving ourselves time to really consider what we do. Is it benefiting us, really? Adding value to our lives? Is this activity or person taking much of our precious energy?

Do as the sloths do and stop wasting your resources. How fast our car is or how busy our schedule is isn’t what makes life great. We only find that when we slow down and really appreciate it.

So… how are you going to act like a sloth today?

Go ahead—embrace it! In my opinion, you should probably start by meeting more sloths. Read on for that delightful experience.

Lucy Cooke Brings us to Meet the Sloths!

Using the power of film, Lucy captures the amazing stories of sloths and those who are working to help them survive. While there were so many great videos to choose from (seriously, check out her library!), I’ve curated a couple down below that really highlight the work that these individuals are doing to help this wonderful species.

This first video was featured in Animal Planet’s series, Too Cute, and is a snippet from Lucy’s longer documentary, Meet the Sloths, where we’re taken into the world’s first sloth-specific sanctuary! (This full documentary is about an hour long and is so worth the watch if you have the time. Here’s the link!)

Here’s the story of two, twin 3-month-old sloths that entered the Sloth Sanctuary and the type of care that they’ve required. (Spoiler: They wear pajamas!)

Via: Animal Planet  2

You can learn more about the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica by visiting their website or by following them on Facebook and Instagram!

Now, to Panama!

Another amazing group that Lucy introduces us to is The Panamerican Conservation Association (APPC). They’re Panama’s leader in wildlife rescue, with a particular focus on sloths. The video below takes us to their Gamboa Sloth Sanctuary where we get to see the wonderful work that they’re doing.

Via: National Geographic 3

Learn more about and stay up to date with the APPC by visiting their website or following along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Have you found a new appreciation for these evolutionary marvels?

Last week I scoffed at my friend for saying her favorite animal was the sloth. But now? Now my opinion has flipped. If their way of life has helped them thrive for over 30 million years, then I’m on board. Are you?

Stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” — Albert Einstein 

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  1. TED. “Sloths! The Strange Life of the World’s Slowest Mammal.” YouTube, TED, 18 June 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=m19jit19v9w&feature=youtu.be.
  2. Animal Planet. “Baby Sloths Get Swaddled.” YouTube, Animal Planet, 21 Dec. 2011, www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-Zfozy7gGI&feature=youtu.be.
  3. National Geographic. “Inside a Baby Sloth Orphanage and Rescue Center.” YouTube, National Geographic, 15 July 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJUfiEFh1w4&feature=youtu.be.
Image: Samantha Burns

Sam Burns

Former Editor-In-Chief

Sam wrote and edited hundreds of articles during her time on the Goodness Exchange team from 2016-2021. She wrote about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the Goodness Exchange, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and procurer of cheeses.

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