Wild Mother Sloth Teaches Her Baby What To Do When He Gets Thirsty

"Witnessing a sloth drinking in the wild is a rare and magical sight."

As plant-loving animals who spend nearly their entire lives high in the treetops, sloths were once believed to satisfy all of their hydration needs from the moisture in the leaves they eat. But, it turns out, they’re not ones to shy away from grabbing a drink on occasion, as well.

The other day, Dr. Rebecca Cliffe, founder of the Sloth Conservation Foundation, shared some fascinating footage of a sloth in Costa Rica doing just that — but she was not alone.

Clutching the sloth’s side as she lowered down a vine to the surface of a river was her baby, learning to drink water perhaps for the very first time.

“Witnessing a sloth drinking in the wild is a rare and magical sight,” Dr. Cliffe wrote.

Though sightings of sloths in the wild drinking water in this manner are reportedly uncommon, Dr. Cliffe has apparently found a favorite watering hole in her research — one that’s being passed down the generations.

“There’s a special river where sloths regularly climb down to sip from the fresh water, like clockwork, every sunny day at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sloths are truly creatures of habit!” she wrote. “Baby sloths spend a long time with mom, mimicking her every move, even learning the perfect time to take a refreshing drink!”

Getty Images/Kevin Schafer

The revelation that sloths do indeed drink water, and teach their kids to do so too, is more than just an adorable fact. As Dr. Cliffe notes, it reiterates the importance of conserving and protecting not just the forests that they live in, but the waterways they rely on, as well.

"If all sloths need a drink from time to time to stay healthy, it’s important to make sure they can get one," Dr. Cliffe wrote.