World's Oldest Known Sloth Dies of Old Age

At 43 years old, the sloth, affectionately named Miss C, lived for twice as long as other sloths of the same species.

After a long and slow life, Miss C, likely the world's oldest known sloth, died on June 2 at 43 years of age.

The Hoffman's two-toed sloth lived for twice as long as the typical sloth of the same species and was humanely euthanized after age-related issues had deteriorated her quality of life.

In a statement, Adelaide Zoo Curator of Conservation and Native Fauna Phil Ainsley lamented the loss of one of the zoo's most iconic animals.

“The treatment Miss C required was very invasive and would likely only delay the inevitable so the hard decision was made to humanely euthanize her," said Ainsley.

Born in 1974, Miss C was the last remaining sloth in Australia and was thought to be the oldest known sloth according to her keepers. The zoo attributes her long life to the regular care given by zoo staff. Two-toed sloths in the wild typically live for 20 years.

News of Miss C's death was greeted with an outpouring of sadness on social media by those who had visited her in her 43 years at the zoo.

“At this stage, there are no sloths left in the region, so while we would love to one day house this amazing species again, it may be some time before a sloth once again calls Adelaide Zoo, or Australia home," said Ainsley.

Hoffman's two-toed sloths are native to Central and South America and have been found in Honduras, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and Bolivia.

They're one of the world's slowest mammals—so slow in fact that algae often grows on their furry coat. Hoffman's are active only at night and spend as many as 15 to 20 hours a day sleeping.

Long claws found on each front foot help the sloths live the majority of their lives in trees, where they eat, sleep, mate, give birth, and raise their young. Hoffman's have been known to retain their grip after death, remaining suspended in air.

Two-toed sloths are easily kept in captivity, unlike their cousins, three-toed sloths. While the International Union for the Conservation of Nature currently lists Hoffman's two-toed sloths as a species of least concern, populations in the wild face threats from habitat degradation and the illegal pet trade.

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