Reproductive biology

Sexual maturity is reached at about three years. One young is produced per year. Nursing requires 6-8 weeks. Weaning occurs as infants first lick leaf fragments from their mother's fur and lips and later sharing the leaves being eaten by the mother. To save energy, sloths barely regulate their body temperature, however pregnant females do invest energy to keep their bodies a few degrees above ambient temperature, the better to develop their embryo. Mating takes 3-5 minutes and may be conducted with the two animals face to face and hanging by their front legs from a branch, or with the female suspended by all four limbs and the male on her back. Sloths may live 10-20 years in the wild and are presumably polygynous.

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