Shuar and Amazonian Kichwa speaking people see sloths as uncanny animals.  They look and move like old people.  They are believed to be the master of game animals or to have the power to attract other animals. It is probably for this reason that the Shuar made tsantsas from sloth heads.  When they did so they reportedly held full tsantsa dances and ceremonies.  The resulting shrunken sloth head worked to attract game to its owner.


Because sloths seem to sleep so much their fur is burned and fanned onto babies to cause them to sleep more.


It is believed that if sloths are slighted or offended they can cause sickness (or misfortune) to the offending person.

3 Toed Sloth,  Iyarina Forest Reserve

Photo: Tod Swanson