It’s time we gave kittens a rest. They’ve been the animal du jour for quite a while now – memes, YouTube vids, clothing patterns – but really, it’s time to move over, feline friends, and give another cuddly creature its time in the spotlight.
I saw this maybe a month ago and am thrusting it upon everyone at any opportunity, mainly because I love Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars movie YAY WHO’S EXCITED?) but also because I think it’s an appropriate reaction to having one on one sloth-cuddle time.
Sloths kind of look like people, but with awkwardly long limbs and a perpetual dopeyness. Maybe this is why they’re so appealing? We see them as an almost-extension of ourselves. And really, with all those long arms, they are sure to be great at hugging. And in general, they’re beyond cute.
But some background info, courtesy of a notoriously accurate reference website that shall remain unnamed:
The South American mammal comes in two and three-toed varieties, with six varieties in all, and are related to anteaters (think of that family reunion). They are tree dwellers – although apparently there used to be ground sloths, now unfortunately extinct – and are characterised by their slow movement. (In case you didn’t already know.) But why are they so slow? Their diet, which consists mainly of leaves, buds and so on (cutely categorised as folivores) doesn’t give them much energy. As a result, they have large and slow-acting stomachs with special bacteria to break down the leaves – and this can take a month to complete.
Now the biology lesson is over, let’s get down to sociology. I think sloths started getting a bad rap after being included in the infamous “Seven Deadly Sins” list. ‘”Slothfulness” is often characterised as physical laziness (that’s where the treehangers come in) – but spiritual laziness is also emphasised. Now I can’t really comment on whether they they’re spiritually bereft, but I think it’s a little bit unfair to slap them with a generalisation of “rejecting grace and God” or “failing to do things that one should”.
But thankfully, they’re throwing off that bad reputation and (leisurely) moving up the ladder, proving they’re more than lazy things that like hanging around – for example, they’re great photobombers too.
The world is beginning to pay tribute to this underappreciated animal, and Etsy is overloaded with all the sloth things. See: sloth artwork (with Cheetos!); sloth necklace; sloth sweatshirt; and my favourite, ‘The Cheese Sloth’ plate. Kids are even inking themselves to honour the new poster-animal of cool.
There’s also this movie mash up which (if it were real) would almost be guaranteed to be better than the original – or any of the four that came after that.
More testaments to the fact that sloths are cool: the great David Attenborough got in on the trend about four years ago – and who is cooler than Davie? Check it out here.
But can that sensual voice beat Animal Planet’s “Bath time for baby sloths“?
Ok, so what’s cuter than a baby sloth splashing around? Nothing, I hear you say with certainty. Wrong, UniLifers! A sloth in a onesie is the answer! And Animal Planet have done it again, with this fab clip.
Cute times take two: Disney/sloth mash up. I don’t even know why artist Phillip Light decided to do a Disney princess/sloth mash-up but I do know that it’s wonderful.
There’s also the rather creepy “rape sloth” meme that’s been created, but I’m not going to share that one, because I think it tarnishes the name of our lovely speed-impaired friends.
This is all the evidence we need, world. Sloths are versatile, gentle creatures that display a range of emotions – they can be cute, serious or damn funny. They’re also super determined – let’s finish with this wonderful specimen who’ll be damned if he lets a biological ineptitude for speediness stop him from getting to the other side.
So file away that kitty cardigan at the back of your wardrobe – the sloths are coming! …slowly.
P.S. Unfortunately most species of sloths are endangered, and you can help to keep them round longer