Sammy is enjoying his lazy day when it suddenly takes a turn for the worst.

Sammy the Sloth

Sammy the sloth is sleeping comfortably suspended in Costa Rica’s Cecropia trees thanks to his curved, sickle cell shaped claws. He slowly awakens from his slumber only due to his gurgling stomach. While gathering his surroundings, Sammy smells his surrounding foliage to make sure it is edible. 

His strong sense of smell compensates for his poor vision. Sammy’s eyes lack a ciliary muscle which changes the shape of his lenses to accommodate to change the distance of objects. His pupils are also tiny even at night when they normally dilate, so regardless of the time of day, not much light is getting into the retina.

Sammy forms a bolus of masticated leaves by smacking his horn-processed lips together to grind the leaves to a pulp. If more chewing is needed, Sammy uses his small teeth to grind up food so its more easily digested in his three chambered stomach. 

His teeth are composed of two inner layers of dentine which are both covered by an outermost layer called cementum. Although grinding leaves wears down a sloths teeth ever so gradually, an open pulp cavity keeps them growing continuously.

After the bolus travels down Sammy’s somewhat curved esophagus it enters into his stomach's 3 chambers. The first chamber, called the cardiac chamber, contains bacteria that help break down the cellulose present in the Cecropia leaves. The gastric region contains enzymes that further hydrolyze food. The pyloric region simply functions to push food into Sammy's duodenum which is the start of his small intestine. The food then travels through the coils of his jejunum via peristalsis to end up at Sammy’s ileum.  It then enters into his large intestine beginning with his cecum where fermentation occurs. The food then travels into Sammy’s ascending, transverse, and descending colon. The descending colon leads into Sammy’s rectum where waste is shortly stored before exiting through the anus during defecation. 

Sammy decides to see life from a different angle and sit up after his meal. He lets go of the tree branch too soon and plummets from his 3 story leaf hammock. "I hope the algae in my moist  undercoat doesn’t get too dirty or else I won’t be able to use them for camouflage from predators when I’m in my tree" Sammy thought to himself while face planted in the dirt. Sammy begins ascending back into his tree using quadrupedal locomotion. 

Suddenly he feels a sharp pain on one of his lower limbs. Sammy discovers a deep scratch but more importantly he spots a puma preparing to lunge again. Sammy climbs as fast as he can, relying only on the strength of his claws to steadily anchor him. He is almost safe but the agile puma latches onto his leg this time, pulling Sammy to the ground.

Sammy slowly surrenders and loses his grip on life; his beloved tree the only thing he ever knew.                        

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http://www.discoverwildlife.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/800px_530px/gallery/Animal%20Behaviour_Adolfo%20Artavia_Puma_800.jpg

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Acknowledgements