Thursday, February 17, 2011

S is for Sloth

This post is brought to you as part of Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.  Click the button on the right to join the fun.

How many of you have seen a sloth at the zoo?  Hold those hands up high so I can see them.  Looks like there are quite a few of you  

Now, how many of you have seen a sloth in the wild?  Somebody? Anybody?  Me neither.

Hubby and Dad got the pleasure of seeing a wild sloth up close and personal over the Thanksgiving holiday.  They have been working with a small church in the Amerindian village of Ykinipa (y-kin-IP-a) in Guyana, South America.  This village is 2 hours by motor boat up the Pomeroon River from Charity.  Charity is literally where the road ends and the last place you can find running water or electricity in homes.

Hubby and Dad have been working with the village for around 14 years and have seen several critters during their visits.  Dogs are everywhere. 

It is common to see beautiful birds and monkeys as pets.

Bats can be found hanging from the bottom of cots, along the rafters, and in the outhouse hole...makes you wonder if you can 'hold it' until you are back in civilization again.  Constipation never looked so good.

This one is hanging under the cot.

WARNING: Close your eyes and scroll down really fast if you don’t like 8-legged creatures.

These are also quite common.

This one is right next to the cot.  You can see the pillow in the picture. 

Eeeeeek!  And Dad wonders why I'm not eager to go down there this summer.

OK. You can open your eyes now.

One afternoon, a villager came carrying a large branch with this little guy (or gal?) hanging on it.

This sloth does not look like anything I have seen in a zoo.  The fur is so colorful.  Yes, that is a bald spot on its back.  The sloth was wounded some time in the past, but it was completely healed. 

Notice the different colors in the fur.

Sloths are so strange looking.  The face looks like a seal’s face.  The arms remind me of a gorilla.  And the claws are humongous!

Hubby had a hard time trying to describe how the sloth moved, so he had to demonstrate.  I don’t think a turtle would have trouble getting away from one.

I looked up the etymology (fancy way to say origin of a word or phrase which makes me sound smart when I use it) of the word sloth.  I wanted to know if the animal was named from an existing word or visa versa.  The English word has been around since the 1200s, but the animal was given the name in the 1600’s when Europeans came to Central and South America.  The original definition of the word is indolence or sluggishness.  Today the word connotes laziness. 

This poor little creature is definitely not lazy by choice; he/she just has the world’s lowest metabolism.  Too bad I can’t use that as my excuse and I often relate to the second half of the proverb below.  Who wouldn’t rather stay home than go to the office in the morning?

“The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.” Proverbs 12:24 [ESV]

Lisa H.


  1. love your take on S,

    vivid demonstrations.

  2. A very interesting post and great pictures!!

  3. Cool trip through the animal world with you. I think you really introduced me to Mr Sloth.

  4. Oh I'm so glad that this was mostly about a real sloth and not a complete guilt trip- I am the most slothful of sloths and am very struck by this verse! Forced labour just what I deserve!

  5. What a lovely post. It is wonderful that you all go to Guyana each year to work. I am not overly impressed with some of the creatures that share your living space. If I saw a spider like that near my cot, I'm afraid I wouldn't want to sleep much at night!! As for bats in the toileting facility, no way - the belfry is good enough or, maybe, in caves but I wouldn't do very well the rest of my life if one bumped into my butt!

  6. I think the only sloth I have ever seen is Sid the SLoth in the Ice Age movies. Haha. The sloth in the pictures is quite beautiful and strange all at once. The spider is yucky. haha.

  7. What a wonderful "S" post! I admire those that have a calling to visit remote areas you are VERY brave my blogger friend as there is NO WAY I could do this...I can't even go camping in my own state without being able to pitch my tent near the bathroom and shower lol

  8. This was fascinating! I love bats and the spiders are fine by me, but that sloth really steals the show. I would love to see him in the flesh!

  9. I don't think you could possibly be old enough to remember this show...but this whole post reminded me of a Sunday show we watched as kids called Wild Mutual of Omaha.

    I found this superb stop to be fascinating from start to finish. The spiders made me feel all crawly, though.

    Thanks for linking.

    This was amazing.


  10. Whoa, what an adventure! And yeah, that does NOT look like a sloth in the Miami zoo!