Rescuing Costa Rica’s sleepy slothsFrom: www.cnn.com
Refugio Aviarios del Caribe, Costa Rica (VBS.TV) — Sloths are fantastically weird animals, the junkies of the jungle who seem to spend their lives either nodding off or scratching and occasionally eating a bean or two before drifting back to what looks like a blissful sleep.
I’ve always been a fan of sloths. They’re wonderfully freaky, yet perfectly adapted to their slow arboreal lifestyle. Their nerves have even evolved to react slower so they don’t flinch at loud noises, making them nature’s most chilled-out animals.
They have very few natural predators and the only time they’re vulnerable is when they leave the trees once a week and descend to the ground to poo. This behavior has befuddled scientists for many years. One of the theories is that their solitary lifestyle affords few chances to hook up with the opposite sex and these toilet stops are a good way to meet other sloths.
But evolution didn’t prepare sloths for the power lines and roads that now crisscross Costa Rica’s jungles. The babies of mama sloths who have been run over or zapped by electricity wind up at the Aviaros del Caribe sanctuary in Costa Rica. It’s the world’s only sloth orphanage, home to more than 100 very sleepy urchins whose lives have been saved by legendary sloth whisperer Judy Arroyo.
If you fall for these animals like I did then you can join the sanctuary’s volunteer program. Trainee sloth wranglers get to feed the sloths and help exercise and potty train the babies. The sanctuary runs on donations and volunteers so you can do your bit by helping these vulnerable creatures whose jungle home, some say, is being slowly destroyed by pesticides, sold off to U.S. real estate agencies, and sliced up by roads and power lines.
Word of the Day
Origin: Latin arboreus of a tree, from arbor
First Known Use: circa 1667
1: of, relating to, or resembling a tree
2: inhabiting or frequenting trees <arboreal monkeys>
— ar·bo·re·al·ly adverb
Befuddle: v. confuse, perplex
Blissful: adj. extremely or completely happy
Sloth: n. any of various slow-moving arboreal edentate mammals (genera Bradypus and Choloepus) that inhabit tropical forests of South and Central America, hang from the branches back downward, and feed on leaves, shoots, and fruits
Urchin: n. mischievous sprite
Wrangler: n. a person who handles or controls animals
Love those Phrasal Verbs
Chill-out: (slang) relax
- Please try to chill out, you are making me jittery.
Nod off: to fall asleep or doze, esp. in a sitting position:
- He was reprimanded for nodding off in class.
Run over: to hit and knock down, esp. with a vehicle:
- She cried inconsolably when her cat was run over by a car.
Wind up: to become ultimately
- Kathy, I knew you would wind up being a teacher; you were always very good at teaching.