How Much Does a Sloth Cost?

Written by: Staff

A sloth is a medium-sized mammal that has a set of specialized claws.  These claws allow sloths to spend most of their time in trees.  Sloths are usually seen in the wild or in the zoo, but sometimes people choose to keep them as pets.  These animals are tree-dwelling creatures and are usually found in Central and South America.  As the name “sloth” implies, these animals are very slow moving and spend a lot of time simply sitting around.

Sloth in the Amazon by Praziquantel, on Flickr
Sloth in the Amazon” (CC BY 2.0) by  Praziquantel

How much does a sloth cost to buy?

The price of a sloth will depend on the gender, age, quality, and seller.  On average, plan on spending anywhere from $1,500 to as much as $3,000 for a sloth.   Most of the time, the younger sloths will cost the most.  As they get older, their price will begin to drop.

According to the website, sloths can range anywhere from $1,500 to $2,600.

Exotic Animals for Sale, an online classified website that caters to exotic animals, has a few listings up at the time of the writing, with prices ranging from $1,000 to $3,000.

What is going to be included in the adoption fee?

A reputable breeder should include up-to-date vaccinations, all medical records, a checkup via a licensed veterinarian, a health guarantee and a shipping crate if it were shipped.

What are the extra costs?

Since it can be hard to find one in your area, there’s a good chance you may have to have it shipped to your home either via an airline or by ground.  Depending on the distance being traveled, the costs can be in the $200 to $400 range.

Due to their low metabolism, they have a very low body temperature, and because of this, they won’t eat as much as you think.  Their diet will usually consist of tree buds, twigs, fruits and leaves.  The San Deigo Zoo, for instance, feeds its sloths leaf biscuits, yams, lettuce, apples and carrots. Owners should be prepared to spend about $20 to $40 per month.

Just like any other animal, a sloth will need vet care; however, due to being an exotic pet, it could be hard to find a vet in your area who’s able to work with your pet, which means two things:  You either have to travel long distances to get help or your vet has to travel long distances to come to your home if you don’t feel comfortable traveling with your sloth.

As for shelter, a sloth will need a cage as large as possible to allow to hang from areas up high, similar to their natural habitats.  In the wild, a sloth will spend most of their time in the trees, suspended from the branches and will still act the same, even in captivity.  Inside this cage, you should include branches strong enough to support its weight, a substrate, water bowl and fresh food available at all times.  Inside this shelter, what you’re going to find out is that a sloth will hang from a tree for up to a week before it comes down to use the bathroom.  At this time, they will defecate inside a hole, bury it, and proceed to climb back up the tree.  Sloths are also known to be great swimmers and love swimming in the water, so it may be ideal to include some sort of non-chemical-based water area.

In some states, they may require you to have a special exotic pet insurance policy.

Tips to know:

There are two types of sloths:  the two-toed and the three-toed.  The two-toed has two species:  the Linnaeus’s and Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth.  The three-toed sloth has four species:  Brown-throated sloth, Maned sloth, Pale-throated sloth and Pygmy three-toed sloth.  According to experts, two-toed sloths tend to do the best when in captivity, whereas a three-toed won’t.

Sloths have an average lifespan of 12 to 30 years when they live in the wild, but when kept in captivity or as a pet they can live up to 40 years.

Found in the rainforests of South Africa, a sloth can weigh eight to 20 pounds, depending on the exact species.

Its fur is coarse and will move slowly as it roams.  Depending on the species, some may be active at night, whereas others will be more active during the day.

Many local cities and states may ban this type of animal or will require a special permit in order to have one inside your home.  Make sure you know about your local ordinances before even considering one.  If you want to know where a sloth is legal, visit this database.

Sloths have a low body temperature, and because of this, they cannot live outside of a tropical climate.  If your climate does not resemble that of a tropical climate, there is a good chance they can get sick since the colder temperatures will cause their body temperature to drop, ultimately shutting down their digestive system.

These pets tend to be very slow but affectionate.  They love blankets, children and even stuffed animals.

A sloth, in order to preserve its energy, will sleep up to 18 hours per day.

Where can you find a sloth?  A sloth can commonly be found online via exotic pet classified ads, similar to the website we mentioned earlier.

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Average Reported Cost: $2501

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Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Coco (Houston,  Texas) paid $2,000 and said:

    Adult male two-toed sloth, at $2,000.

    Was it worth it? Yes

  2. Mona paid $5000 and said: said:

    I really want a sloth from Mona

    Was it worth it? Yes

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