To measure the mating practices of a sloth, don’t bring a stopwatch; get a sundial.
Just like humans, sloths don’t execute the actual act of procreation in any specific amount of time. But, in keeping with their reputation as being slower than slow, the entire ritual can take a number of days to accomplish.
When the female sloth is ready to become impregnated she will let out a screaming sound that attracts male sloths. The sound can bring mates from up to 700 meters away. That’s less than half a mile, but that distance takes a half a week for a sloth to traverse to get to his wailing mate. Their top speed is 200 meters per day.
The actual act will vary from sloth to sloth, but just getting physically to the same tree can easily take dozens of hours.
The Sloth Appreciation Society holds the Slothlympics as an alternative to the Olympic Games. Instead of sprinting in London this past summer 2012, the Society’s sloths stayed in Costa Rica and participated in events like the slumber marathon.
Just in! The Pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus) could be one of the rarest mammals on the planet. A recent survey found just 79 of the sloths left remaining on Earth.