There are six species of sloth living in the world today, and Costa Rica is home to two of them: the Brown-Throated Three-Fingered Sloth (Bradypus variegatus), and Hoffman’s Two-Fingered Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni).
Although there are similarities in their general appearance, they are very different in their anatomy, temperament and care needs. The Hoffman’s Two-Fingered Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) is nocturnal, meaning they are active a night. They have 2 'fingers' on their 'hands' and 3 'toes' on their 'feet'. They are often recognized for their pig-like nose with hair that tends to be blond or brown. It is difficult to identify the sex of a wild two-fingered sloth from afar because their sexual organs are hidden within their fur.
The Brown-Throated Three-Fingered Sloth (Bradypus variegatus) is diurnal, meaning they are active during the day. They have 3 'fingers' on their 'hands' and 3 'toes' on their 'feet'. They are often recognized for their 'pura vida smile', a black marking across their mouth as well as a black 'mask' around their eyes. Their hair is salt-and-pepper colored meaning that it is black, grey and white.
While they have internal sexual organs you can actually determine the gender of a sexually mature three fingered sloth by a very distinct marking on their back! A juvenile male or adult female three-fingered sloth will have a white patch of hair with a black line through it. An adult male three-fingered sloth will have an orange patch of hair with a brown line through the middle.