STL Science Center

STL Science Center

06 January 2017

Beautiful Sloths

It is difficult to find a quality and beautiful image of a sloth. There are two typical poses for Megatherium in illustrations; 1) Rearing up and eating from a tree and 2) Walking toward or around a tree on all fours. Of these two types of illustrative motif, about half involve an elongate serpentine sloth tongue wrapping around leaves; there are even sculptures with their tongues out for no clear reason. Approximately a quarter of all of the illustrations remaining (i.e. sans tongue) are actually posed skeletal drawings. Finding an exquisitely drawn and original composition of this type is actually quite difficult, truth be told; there are plenty of well drawn images of course. I have managed to find one image that is both very well drawn and strangely unique. There is no mention anywhere, that I have seen, of a swimming Megatherium, but there is a chance that these sloths would have encountered water and had to cross it. They may not have submerged themselves this much necessarily, but a submerged swimming sloth is an interesting idea and the job done here in portraying a wet furry mammal is well executed. The animal portrayed is actually incorrectly labeled Megatherium in a few spots online and is actually a member of a closely related family of semi-aquatic sloths known as Thalassocnus sloths, but they are similar enough to Megatherium that the imagery is appropriate though slightly inaccurate.
©Diego Barletta


  1. Hi Ian. The author is Diego Barletta from Argentina. Here's a link to his blog

    1. Thank you. I hate when people don't give credit!