Sloths have a reputation for being very slow, or even lazy. But like any other animal, they have to do whatever it takes to survive. A trail camera in the Amazon Rainforest captured the fight-or-flight response of a sloth that was attacked by an ocelot. As the footage shows, the seemingly peaceful sloth was ready to throw punches and fight for its life.
The video was captured by a camera trap set up by the Fundación Proyecto Primates at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Ecuadorian Amazon. In the clip, a two-toed sloth calmly lies on a saladero—a mineral lick where animals can feed on mineral-rich soil. The biggest danger for sloths when visiting these reservoirs are predators, and this particular sloth had the bad luck of crossing paths with one.
The ocelot seems to come out of nowhere, and tries to bite the sloth from behind. With uncharacteristic speed, the fluffy mammal fends off from the feline, which seems confused by the sloth's resistance. The video then shows the sloth crossing a log to get around the forest floor. The ocelot, feeling its mission is not yet fulfilled, continues to stalk the other creature. Aware of the danger, the sloth fights off the predator with a few punches. Knowing he won't win this time, the ocelot walks away from the frame.
It's not only the general public that has been taken aback by the developments on this video; academics are surprised too. “This is a super interesting video because it’s one of only a few times that a two-toed sloth has appeared in one of our camera trap videos and the only time that an ocelot has appeared,” professor Anthony Di Fiore, who has been studying primates in the Ecuadorian Amazon, told UT News. “Both two-toed sloths and ocelots are difficult animals to study. They are quiet, elusive, and hard to find and observe in the wild.”
Will there be a rematch between these two? Or will the sloth finally get to have a peaceful trip to the mineral lick? One thing's for sure: both the ocelot and those who have watched the video will have second thoughts about calling sloths “slow and lazy” the next time they see one.
A trail camera in the Amazon Rainforest captured a sloth throwing punches to fight off an ocelot that tried to attack it from behind.