June 15, 2010
Many of you ask, so what is a “perezoso”? And why did you name the Villa that? A perezoso (accent on the second to the last syllable) is the Spanish word for sloth, yes sloth! And, just as in English, in Spanish the word also means lazy or sloth-like. We first came upon these delightful fuzzy funny creatures in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. Native to South and Central America and living in the rainforest canopies, they are believed to be ancestors of anteaters and armadillos. In Manuel Antonio,Costa Rica, you can find both the two-toed and three-toed varieties hanging off the treetops of the guarumo trees. one of which can be seen from our property. When we were beginning the project, we noticed a mother and baby in the nearby tree and thought, that she would be our Villa’s namesake and so the name Villa Perezoso was conceived!
My daughter and I had the incredible opportunity to help take care of a baby who had been rescued after she had fallen from a tree and was being rehabilitated by a local wildlife preserve, Kids Saving the Rainforest of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. . Clinging to her stuffed bear (that was bigger than she was) we would gently remove her from her temporary home to take her on “walks” to help her learn to eat and climb. She clung to us fiercely and seemed intrigued and interested in the many leaves that we showed her. Her fur was surprisingly soft but her claws were powerful; she hung onto us and her teddy bear with a grip that immediately made us understand how they are able to hang and live in the canopies of the rainforest. On another occasion, while my husband and I were driving down the dirt backroad of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica to get to the beach, around one of the bends, right in front of us, moving slower that slow, was a rather large sloth crossing the road. Thankfully, the road isn’t much travelled but I “freaked out” anyway thinking that before it had time to get to the other side, a car would surely come around the corner and not see it. So I stopped the car and told my husband he had no choice but to pick it up and move it to the other side to where it was headed. Being an animal person like myself, without even questioning me, he was out of the car bending over to pick up the perezoso who was probably around 20-25 pounds. Our new found sloth turned his head nearly 180 degrees to stare at my husband as he was now suspended in the air and moved to the other side of the road to safety! We were later told that if you are in a situation and need to pick one up, never just put your hands around its belly to lift it up like a container because it could strike; always pick it up by the nape of its neck. It was quite a moment for both of us.
Whether you come to CR to be a “perezoso” or to participate in the active adventures that abound in the area, you won’t be disappointed when you visit Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. There’s something quite wonderful in observing these beautiful creatures for hours at a time from one of the sundecks as they relax and enjoy life.Great teachers for us all.
Two varieties as mentioned above which pertains to the number of claws on their front feet;
they sleep, eat, live in the rainforest canopies of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica only coming down to “earth” to
defecate just once a week. They have long furry hair, no tail and eat a vegetarian diet. Though appearing to be quite sluggish, they can defend themselves with their powerful claws. Algae which grows on the sloths fur, creates the appearance of a green hue which helps them blend into the trees. They are nocturnal creatures, most often eating at night and sleeping up to 15-20 hours a day. Slots mate and give birth in the trees and for nine months, the babies cling to their mothers and travel with them.