SLOTHS!!!! Sloths... and Baby Sloths too!!!

Written from Cahuita, Costa Rica on Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
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Hola from Cahuita in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is country number 51 of the World tour and sadly the last one before heading home..... But enough of that :).

Soooooo we flew into San Jose and spent our first 2 days there looking at the stack of fliers I picked up at the Tourist info at the Airport. Really good info and free maps of the country and every region as well as all the cool things to see. We had trouble deciding what to do first???? Should we tackle a couple volcanoes, head to the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea??? The only thing we knew for sure is we had to see the Sloth Sanctuary on Caribbean side, so we took the 4 hour bus and here we are :). YAY!!!

We saw videos from Youtube of the Sloth Sanctuary before we left, and it's been on our wish list since we began. I looked into being a volunteer at the centre but $85 USD a day (for short term) was way out of our price range.... they offer a big tour where you get lunch and get to spend a lot of time with the sloths for $150 USD per person for one day..... or the option we took that is 2 hour tour for $25USD. We had to cross our fingers that it would be enough to satisfy our need to see sloths :).

It's 10kms from Cahuita and the bus dropped us at the doorstep. We couldn't miss the entrance with the massive billboard of a sloth pointing the way, and a giant yellow Sloth Crossing sign at the bus stop. Tee hee!!!

So in we went and met and we had about half an hour before our tour was going to start so we took the time to meet Buttercup the three fingered sloth. She is the first sloth I have met, and she was so active??? I thought sloths were.... you know sloth like :). Buttercup has one of the hard bamboo hanging chairs and she was climbing all over it. I have a bunch of photos of her and a couple videos but I don't think she stayed still for a moment. Crazy!!!! We were warned that she would raise her arm to us, and asked not to hold hands with her since she would then think it was safe to let go with the other and smash on the ground. I REALLY wanted to touch her fur and give her head a scratch, but I behaved myself :).

Down stairs we waited for our tour to begin with a view of the river in front of us, and got to see a few beautiful lizards hiding in the grass. The gardens here are so nice. We waited till a family came back from their boat ride and we went together to see a hilarious video they put together.... there were facts thrown in as well about sloths :). The guide was super nice and told us the difference between two fingered and three fingered sloths and I took a photo of a description of both kinds if you want to take a look. They eat different things, are structurally different and the two can not mate. They are easy to distinguish visually though.... three fingered sloths have a raccoon style mask on their smiling faces, and two fingered sloths have long blonish hair and almost a piggish nose. Both are very cute, but I think I like the three fingered ones better :).

Now for the sloths.... they have five sloths that we met that are probably going to stay permanent residents. One named Delilah is blind, one fella had lost his arm since he was burned so badly from electrical wires. Usually at the centre they try to release them in the wild if they think they can manage on their own, but sometimes it  just can't happen. They were all so cute and very lazy when we went to see them.... more the speed I expected :). So from here we went to go see the babies.

Is there anything cuter then a baby sloth??? They are so adorable and each one had their own stuffed animal that the held on to. In the wild baby sloths hold onto their mothers for one year. These poor little guys had all been orphaned and brought here by locals to be brought up. Holding onto a stuffed animal or the people who work here is what they do best. These little ones are bottle fed goats milk (expensive powdered stuff that is hard to get here) and fed by hand. We got to see two of them being fed and I fell in love with a little two fingered sloth that sucks his paw and has deformed his mouth a bit :). I'm always a sucker for the odd one out.

They also took out their smallest sloth they had ever had. A little three fingered sloth that was very underweight fro his age. They took him out for us and showed us how they try to teach them how to climb. This little one is gorgeous and I have a ton of photos of him..... By the way, sloths are impossible to determine the gender until they are about 2 years old. At that time the three fingered sloth males have a yellow patch that shows up on their back. No clue how you tell the two fingered sloth gender, but it's not as apparent as most animals. Also mothers carry their unborn child in their rib cage not their stomachs so apparently at the rescue centre occasionally they find new arrivals that no one expected. Tee hee. Crazy critters. I loved hearing about them and seeing them and really hope these little guys can successfully be sent out to the wild.

We were told by Judy (owner and founder) that they have about 150 sloths at the centre at the moment and most were either orphaned or burned by electric wires. I believe she said they had been successful in 100 sloths being rehabilitated and sent back to the wild :). Originally she had bought the property to have a bed and breakfast and offer boat trips for bird watchers... then one day a neighbourhood child brought little orphaned Buttercup. Judy fell in love and did everything to keep her alive.... from then on people kept bringing more orphaned or hurt sloths and the sanctuary was born :). YAY!!! I take off my hat to everyone involved and they are doing a great job and so loving to all the sloths that come in :).

Cool facts I learned.... sloths in the wild have their own ecosystem that grows on them. Because they are so slow moving they have a blue algae that grown on them (this also helps to camouflage them in trees), their is a species of moths that live off that algae and sleep in the hair of the sloths..... once a week sloths go down on the ground to poo and the moths lay eggs in them... next week when the sloth comes down the new moths hop on while the older ones lay eggs again. Cool!!!

So after our visit with all the sloths we were taken on a canoe ride along the river on the property. No sloths there, but we saw jumping lizards that can run on water, howler monkeys in the distant trees, kingfisher and other cool birds, and just a beautiful relaxing ride.

I'm so happy we went and had such a good time. I'm telling everyone to come visit if you can :).

We spent 5 days in Cahuita, two were lazy days when the rain was pouring down all the time. We did see the sun sometimes and went to the National Park here. It's free (well donations) and we only did half the trail before we just had to swim in the beautiful Caribbean Sea. I was hoping to see a large iguana along the way, but no such luck. Still a couple more weeks in the country though so hopefully I'll get lucky. When we were leaving the park we did however see a wild two fingered sloth hanging in a tree over the beach. Their were tourists that had been sitting under the tree all day and had no idea he was above them :).  YAY!!!! Sloths!! (I also saw one in the trees when we were on the bus back to town).

YAY!!! I got to see baby sloths up close, and I said hi to them from all of you xoxoxo especially Buttercup :).

Costa Rica is a lot more expensive then we had hoped... we're heading to  Puerto Viejo today (only half hour away) to see the Jaguar Rescue centre then we will be heading to Panama tomorrow!!! It'll only be an hour drive to the boarder and backpackers have told us it's much cheaper there.... So why not??

Off we go.....

Sheryl

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See the Pictures!

Buttercup seems to like photo shoots :). Pretty girl. Sloth Sanctuary, Cahuita, Costa Rica Buttercup seems to like photo shoots :). Pretty girl. Sloth Sanctuary, Cahuita, Costa Rica Buttercup seems to like photo shoots :). Pretty girl. Sloth Sanctuary, Cahuita, Costa Rica Sloth Sanctuary, Cahuita, Costa Rica Buttercup seems to like photo shoots :). Pretty girl. Sloth Sanctuary, Cahuita, Costa Rica Buttercup seems to like photo shoots :). Pretty girl. Sloth Sanctuary, Cahuita, Costa Rica Buttercup seems to like photo shoots :). Pretty girl. Sloth Sanctuary, Cahuita, Costa Rica Buttercup seems to like photo shoots :). Pretty girl. Sloth Sanctuary, Cahuita, Costa Rica Buttercup seems to like photo shoots :). Pretty girl. Sloth Sanctuary, Cahuita, Costa Rica
May 3rd, 2012

Jaguar rescue? Many pettings to the kitties from me and PICTURES!!!!!!! Love the sloth shots, are they as slow as folklore says or is that myth?

Chris S.
May 4th, 2012

Hey Chris

Soon soon you will see the Jaguar Rescue centre photos… it may be a bit different then you expect, but it’s a seriously cool place :). The sloths we mey were mostly half asleep. Aparently that is how they spend most of their time. Buttercup was seriously active though and the some of the babies were all over the place. Crazy. In the wild aparently adults climb a tree and stay there 2 days before heading to another tree to get variety in their diet. Then the rest of the time they just hang around :). 

Sheryl
May 4th, 2012

Smart sloths! Aside from the having to climb a tree part I like their view on life :)

Chris S.
May 4th, 2012

I’m slothing (instead of slogging) away from now on. Life is good & sloooow when algae could grow on you ;-)

Wong CC
May 4th, 2012

Slothing sounds good… and you will look lovely in blue algae :)

Sheryl
May 5th, 2012

Hi Sheryl!!!! I was pretty much continuously ‘awwww-ing’ while reading this post! They are the loveliest animals I can imagine, so benign and sweet. I am so jealous and inspired (as per usual with your entries). Thanks for writing about the costs, so I know what to expect if I ever get so lucky as to get there!

Kendall
May 5th, 2012

PS… how do you pronounce word now? ’slouthe’ or ’sloth’? I cant spell phonetically so I hope you know what I mean :)

Kendall
May 5th, 2012

Tee hee… the video at the Centre called them slouthes… but everyone that worked there called them slothes…. or perezos in Spanis. I just added my next post and more photos of sloths for yooooou :). 

Sheryl
May 5th, 2012

No problem Kendall, I thought about you as I worte it and figured you’d want to know. The longer you volunteer there the cheaper it is :). Luke may never get you to leave :). 

Soon I will be just reading your blogs and dreaming about meeting up with you both. Happy travels and stay safe. xoxoxo

Sheryl

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