Sloths’ Special Abdominal Adhesions allow them Breath while Hanging Upside-Down

Sloths’ Special Abdominal Adhesions allow them Breath while Hanging Upside-Down

Despite spending up to 90% of their life upside down, sloths' breathing does not get affected. With the help of research led by Swansea University along with the Costa Rica Sloth Sanctuary, it has been found that they have unique abdomen adhesions preventing organs to weigh down on lungs and that's how their breathe upside-down.

Sloths are among the slowest mammals in the world. They are known for their slow metabolism as a sloth can take a week to digest a single leaf and stores 33% of its body weight in urine and feces. This means that the stomach and bowels of sloth is quite heavy.

Researchers wanted to know why this weight does not affect the breathing of sloths when they are upside-down. Prof. Rebecca Cliffe and team dissected two sloths that died of natural causes. They found sloths to be having many unique abdomen adhesions anchoring organs like liver, stomach and kidneys that stop them pressing on diaphragm and show down breathing.

"With slow metabolic rates and a low-energy diet, sloths are experts at saving energy and have solved the problem of breathing upside down by anchoring their organs against the rib cage", affirmed Cliffe.

These adhesions are expected to reduce a sloth's energy expenditure by 7 to 13% while they hang upside-down. Sloths live in the rain forests of Central and South America. There are a number of unique things about them and one of them is their economic way of using energy as they only leave trees to poop once a week.

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