Come for the Oxygen. Stay for the Sloth.

I seem to be having a thing with the Chloe the Sloth at Como Conservatory. Yet another botanist noticed that Chloe wakes up when I come along – despite it being in the wee hours from the perspective of a sloth. I’m apparently one of the few visitors who gets to see her face.

So, evidently, my spirit guide for my way through Finding Water is a sloth. I don’t know what that means, unless it’s some metaphor for my sleeping too much and not working enough. Today Chloe showed her face, a rarity – and she kept moving it towards me. A tour guide was guessing that my voice is similar to her zookeeper’s, and that’s why she responds to me. Which would be fine, but this is the first day I’ve ever actually spoken to her.

Now her movement can’t be too rare – other tour guides have mentioned favorite “Chloe moves” but all of them seem to think it’s rare. Clearly, I get more of a treat.

So what about my work is related to a sloth? Well, it’s pace, definitely – I work in short bursts and wander off a lot. What else, I wonder?

3 thoughts on “Come for the Oxygen. Stay for the Sloth.”

  1. Found this at an animal totems website, because I was curious. (Link:

    “The Sloth is a tree dwelling mammal related to the armadillo and the anteater. There are 6 living species in tropical South and Central America. They weigh about 10 pounds and are about 24 inches long. Their size is deceptive due to their thick fur which develops a thin coating of algae during wet seasons. This algae creates a greenish tint on the sloths fur which helps camouflage it amongst the leaves. The art of camouflage is one of the teachings the sloth holds for those with this medicine.

    Sloths are excellent swimmers and can stay underwater for quite some time if threatened. They feel most comfortable in the water or in a tree but feel very uncomfortable when on the ground. Sloths take their sweet time digesting food and consequently, only defecate once or twice in a one week period. The defecation usually takes place at the base of tree. This event marks one of the rare occasions that sloths will venture to the ground. Sloths do not like being on the ground because when they are on a level surface they are unable to stand and walk. They can progress only by reaching forward and, when a toehold is obtained, pulling their bodies along the ground. Because of this they become easy prey for predators and often find themselves fighting for their lives. Although the sloth is a fairly docile creature and gives the impression of being half asleep dont let false impressions fool you This animal is a capable and competent fighter and its claws have been known to tear and shred when its survival was at stake. This is especially true for the two-toed sloth which tend to have a mean streak and are quick to bite with their self sharpening cannies.

    Sloths can turn their heads almost 270 degrees giving them an uncanny ability to see all that is above, below and around them. They are often seen hanging upside down in the forests of South America. Because of these abilities the sloth is linked to the realm of spirit and psychic visions. Those with this totem often feel out of place on the earth and have a difficult time fitting into normal socieity. Like the sloth they have an uncanny ability to see clearly and hold strong visionary gifts. These gifts, however, should be nutured in a grounded way early in life in order to fully develop and be utilized within a given life time. The tendency to escape from earth reality is common for those that hold this medicine. Strong physical exercise can help bring this tendency into balance.

    Sloths are solitary animals that only come together for mating. Those with this totem are loners and do not enjoy being in crowds. If their independence is threatened they become rebelious. Relationships are challenged when personal space is taken away. Sloth medicine people usually have a low rate of metabolism and dont have the ability to ward off illness easily, therefore, the strengthening and care of the immune system can benefit the overall health. ”

    Seems to sort of fit you, or at least what I’ve read of you so far on this blog 🙂 Also, take heart: sloths are apparently not nearly as lazy as advertised. That was just based on our observations of them in captivity — in the wild they are more active and not so sleepy. Although they *do* have really slow metabolisms and have developed many ways of economizing their movements and maximizing their efficiency.

  2. Yes, that is me, especially that stuff about “if their independence is threatened…”


    Thanks so much, and welcome, Meredith!

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