Jan 14, 2011

Latrine Diving

Imagine hurrying over to the latrines to relieve yourself and looking down to see this face looking back at you. You might, if you lived in Peru.


Two-toed sloths in Peru have begun a recent trend of scampering (can sloths even scamper?) into latrines to eat human waste. Why, you ask? That's a good question, and surprisingly, there are several possible answers. Our feces (or at least, Peruvian feces) might have nutritional value. Maybe it's the insect larvae crawling around on the feces. Or maybe it's all the salt in the urine. Researcher don't know for sure.

(photos by M. Stojan-Dolar via Tetrapod Zoology)
Regardless of the reason, suffice it to say that were my latrines susceptible to sloth invasions, I'd probably develop a bad case of constipation. And yes, the sloth in the bottom picture is carting along a youngin' clinging to it's belly. Little sloths might want to develop the companion behavior to latrine diving of riding on mom's back.






I apologize if you happened upon this post while eating. Thanks for the article, Laura.

13 comments:

VM Sehy Photography said...

Blech! But then look at what dogs will eat.

Cucipata said...

If the sloths are happy with their nutritional preferences who are we to judge... we like to believe we eat better than them, but even that could be questioned...

Raging Wombat said...

@ Cucipata: I'm not judging the fecophages. Heck, a sloth's gotta do what a sloth's gotta do. But I'm pretty confident that I eat better than they do. If you doubt me, take it up with my wife. :)

Adorably Dead said...

I would freak out of that was in my toilet.

kate The kid said...

(two-toed) sloths *can* move quite quickly if necessary. I can say that they do not like hoses (I used to work in a place where we had to hose the facility periodicly). I am not sure about other species...they are cool though, I am 99% sure that these were not fecophages...who knows? what an odd thing to do. thanks for the post!

commoncents said...

Very Nice!
Glad I found your blog!!

Steve
Common Cents
http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

forestwalk/laura k said...

to each his own...i say...

they sure are the weirdest looking creatures...and would prob be scarred for life if i was using one of those porta-potty things someplace and saw one of them staring up at me from the dark stinky depths below!
then again...WHO looks DOWN there anyway! ha!

Laura said...

I sent the article in because I thought it was an interesting change in animal behavior (and because I would be totally freaked out to find one in a porta-potty), but I am now really grossed out by the baby sloths riding on the mom's stomach...

April Lorier said...

I'm sorry. I've had some very weird attachments in my childhood - horny toads, lizards, frogs, etc.But some how, I never got 'attached' to the sloth. And like Laura, I would get a bad case of constipation if one of them was staring back at me!

B.L. Covey said...

@ Raging wombat. That retort was hilarious.

Raging Wombat said...

@ Covey: I thank ye.

Nicole said...

Maybe this is the answer to not having to clean out the porta potties at concerts and events so often. Put a sloth or 2 in the bottom and not more messes!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was eating, thanks...