Catholic theology says there are seven deadly sins, but modern zoology says only one of them – sloth – deserves to have its own animal named after it.
Sloths are tree-dwelling rainforest creatures who hold the record for being the slowest land mammals on Earth: their top speed on the ground is only five feet per minute. Their sluggish metabolisms make them sleep up to 18 hours a day, and they even share a characteristic with rock outcroppings: “At times they look grey-green in color because they move so slowly that tiny camouflaging algae grow all over their coats.”
So there’s possible irony in knowing the National Aquarium in Baltimore has had a baby two-toed sloth in need of naming since August, yet only now is the aquarium getting around to doing something about it (not to be judgmental, but procrastinating on a task for over two months is pretty slothful).
Aquarium officials haven’t named the sloth; they’re asking members of the public to name it instead. This too might qualify as slothful – asking someone else to do your work rather than do it yourself – but on the other hand, the aquarium organized a naming contest with a very nice website and everything, which entailed actual non-slothful effort on their part. So that’s a draw, slothfulnesswise.
The contest website features a Baby Sloth Update video and gallery of sloth baby pictures, lists facts about sloths in general and the aquarium’s sloths in particular, then says: “We’ll be taking open suggestions from the public now until November 1. Starting November 2, you will all have the opportunity to vote on one of four names chosen from your suggestions. Voting on the final choices will take place until November 16.”
If you want to look at sloths but are too busy (or slothful) to visit a tropical rainforest or Baltimore’s National Aquarium, you can peruse the We all love sloths Tumblr instead.
Photo via National Aquarium