In recent years, the brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) has seemingly exploded in popularity. It has become a mascot for people that admire or emulate its laid-back, solitary, inactive lifestyle. In addition to that, it’s also unquestionably adorable. This popularity, no doubt accelerated by the internet, movies, and TV shows, has generated a glut of sloth themed merchandise. My wife in mentioning her affinity for sloths is now guaranteed sloth themed socks, shirts, refrigerator magnets, plush toys, figurines, key chains, coffee mugs, and other sloth paraphernalia from family members that don’t know what else to get her. She even has sloth lip balm!
Today we’re looking at a member of my wife’s wanton sloth collection, the Schleich 2016 brown-throated sloth, perhaps the only sloth object she actually bought herself. This specimen is a little scuffed due to years of sitting in her car’s center console, but no matter, it will suffice for this review.
The brown-throated sloth is a member of the Bradypus genus along with 3 other species. Collectively these are known as the 3-toed sloths. There are also the two-toed sloth, which would more accurately be called 2-fingered sloths because they have 3 digits on their hindlimbs. They belong to the Choloepus genus. Although these 2 genera of sloths look similar, they belong to two distinct families, their similarities are the result of convergent evolution as both families evolved their arboreal lifestyles separately. In the past there were sloths adapted to living on the ground, including the enormous Megatherium, and there were even aquatic sloths of the Thalossocnus genus. Sloths belong to the Xenarthra clade along with anteaters and armadillos. Certainly, an unusual bunch.
The Schleich sloth is sculpted in such a way that it can be displayed on a shelf or hung from a thin string, cord, stick, or whatever. The right forelimb is reaching skyward and the claws curve around, although the claws come close enough to the hand that whatever it hangs from must have a thin diameter. The right hindlimb also curves around so that it can support the sloth as well. This is a fun and dynamic design choice that allows more versatility than we’re used to with our animal toys.
This sloth fantastically captures the tired, yet content, expression that brown-throated sloths seem to have. The figure is sculpted with a brown, shaggy coat that’s nicely executed. The claws are tan colored with a smooth, shiny finish. The glossy eyes, nose, and area around the mouth are dark and the characteristic stripes under each eye are present as well. Male sloths possess scent gland on their back highlighted by a dark patch and U-shaped orange marking. This feature is absent on this toy, making it a female.
The Schleich sloth measures 2.4” (6.1 cm) from its bottom to its outstretched arm. Along the curved back the figure measure 2.25” (5.7). The brown-throated sloth has a body length of 17-31” (42-80 cm) and so the toy is about 1/8 to 1/15 in scale if my calculations are correct.
If this sloth isn’t to your liking there are also brown-throated sloth offerings by Papo and CollectA. Oddly, Safari and Mojo still have not produced one of their own. Other 3 toed sloths exist too, such as the Kaiyodo Kabaya figure, but are harder to acquire. The Schleich sloth is still in production and easy to find, costing about $6 USD.