How much do you know about sloth poop? Did you know that sloths only defecate once a week?
What’s interesting about sloth poop?
Because they only poop once a week, sloths can lose up to one-third of their body weight in a single bowel movement.
While most animals poop once or a few times a day, sloths are infrequent poopers. That’s because sloths have a unique digestive system that processes food very slowly. In fact, it can take up to a month for a sloth to digest a single meal. That’s why they don’t need to eat as often as other animals.
The sloth’s digestive tract is designed to extract as many nutrients as possible from food. That means there’s relatively very little leftover to produce waste. Waste is stored in a special sac in the lower part of the sloth’s large intestine. This builds up over time until the sloth is finally ready to poop.
When a sloth has the urge to go, it makes a trip down from the trees to the ground. Because they’re slow-moving, this is a dangerous trip that makes them vulnerable to predators on the ground. But the urge to go is so strong that sloths take the risk.
Once they reach the ground, sloths dig a small hole to “make their deposit.” The feces of a sloth is a valuable source of nutrients for the ecosystem. It’s important to other animals like moths and beetles that feed on it.
Other infrequent poopers
Armadillos are primarily insectivores, meaning they mostly eat insects such as beetles, termites, and ants. And because insects are high in protein and nutrients, armadillos don’t need to eat as frequently as other animals, so their digestive systems have adapted accordingly.
The slow metabolism of the armadillo and its unique digestive system also give the animal the ability to conserve water. This is an important adaptation for living in hot and dry environments. By holding onto their waste for longer periods of time, the animals are able to absorb more water from their food. This reduces the amount of water they need to drink.
Source: “Sloths Only Poop Once a Week — But They Make It a Good One” — How Stuff Works