How to hang upside-down: sloths’ organs stick to their bones!
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Image: Vilaine Crevet/Shutterstock

Sloths spend a lot of time hanging vertically upside-down to reach tender leaves. Being in this position for hours adds extra pressure to the lungs, but nature is wise and sloths’ internal organs have fibrinous adhesions that work basically like sticky tape, anchoring liver and stomach to the lower ribs, and kidneys to the hip bones.

“They are not scars”, wrote Ed Young in his blog for National Geographic. “They’re normal parts of the sloths’ bodies, and they ensure that the ribs always bear the weight of the viscera.”

Thanks to this tissue their lung capacity remains practically intact – if it weren’t for this tissue, sloths would spend between 7 and 13 percent more energy breathing.

Sloths are Central and South American denizens that love to spend their time hanging on trees. Their fur is coated with a greenish algae that helps them camouflage against predators, and their diet consists of twigs, leaves and fruit.

Deforestation has left sloths in the wild almost homeless, but a woman in Costa Rica opened up a rescue centre to make sure the species survives. She has a sloth nursery that has provided us with some super cute sloth footage that helps raise awareness of the struggles faced by this species. Watch this heart-warming video from Animal Planet and discover a bit more about sloths.