I thought I knew a lot about sloths. I used to work with two-toed sloths as a zookeeper. I know that the closest relatives of sloths are the apparently very different anteaters and armadillos, and that together they all make up an order called xenarthra. Hey, I even wrote a mystery with a sloth in the title, a sloth on the cover, and where important plot-related peril happens to sloths.
And yet somehow I only recently stumbled upon this species, the maned sloth. It's reportedly the rarest species, so I guess that's how I missed it.
Sloths are definitely not conventionally attractive, but I think they're the cutest things ever - especially the babies. I mean, if this doesn't prove that the world needs the word "ugdorable" I don't know what does:
That maned sloth, though...
But hey, maybe all it needs is a good makeover. It doesn't look too bad in this artist's rendering:
You can have some ugly animal craft fun by downloading that cutout-and-assemble maned sloth at the Yamaha website (I am not making that up).
You can also read more about this sloth and other xenarthans at - where else - xenarthrans.org, the website of the conservationists who specialize in them. And see more pictures, including some very clear views of that unfortunate hairstyle, at the website of photographer Kevin Schafer.
Wombat (No Relation)
Two-toed sloth baby by Flickr user justonlysteve.