A sloth who wandered away from home was found gripping a crash barrier pole by the highway, where it waited as officials came to the rescue. A string of photos documenting the rescue were posted on Facebook by transport officers in Quevado, Ecuador, where the incident occurred.
Officer Aguayo stopped his patrol car when he spotted the oso perezoso — or “lazy bear,” as sloths are called in in the region — and cautiously approached to check on the stranded animal. The sloth was taken to a veterinarian for a checkup; given the all-clear, it was soon taken back to its native habitat and set free.
Wearing the “smile” characteristic of its species, the sloth quickly gained attention on social media and its image has gone viral with nearly 41,000 likes and nearly 12,000 shares on Facebook.
Sloths are the world’s slowest mammals, and spend nearly all of their time in the treetops. Sloths seldom wander on flat land, and maneuvering on the ground is difficult due to weak hind legs and long claws. They move on land by digging their front claws into the earth, then dragging the rest of their bodies along. The rescued sloth likely had trouble moving across the pavement, and chose to grip the pole instead.