A trail camera captured the extraordinary moment a two-toed sloth fights off and unexpectedly survives a savage attack by an ocelot in the Amazon Rainforest.
The rare footage was captured by a camera trap at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest.
The trail camera was set up at a mineral lick, or saladero, where many Amazonian animals come to feed on mineral-rich soil despite the risk of coming into contact with predators.
In the video, an ocelot attempts to catch and kill a two-toed sloth as the creature approaches the mineral lick.
While it would be natural to assume that the sloth would fare poorly against the predator, the footage proves just how decisive and quick these slow-moving creatures can be in such perilous encounters.
The “lazy” sloth manages to survive a savage attack by the ocelot and even takes a few quick and strategic swings at the predator before crossing a log above the forest floor to safety.
The trail camera captured the encounter between the sloth and the ocelot in August 2022. But the remarkable footage has since been analyzed by researchers at the University of Texas in a paper published in the latest issue of scientific journal Food Webs
Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas, Anthony Di Fiore tells UT News that camera traps have allowed scientists to study animals that are often “quiet, elusive and hard to find and observe in the wild” — such as two-faced sloths.
“This is a super interesting video because it’s one of only a few times that a two-toed sloth has appeared in one of our camera trap videos and the only time that an ocelot has appeared,” Di Fiore tells UT News.
“In the video series, you see an ocelot presumably trying to prey on a two-toed sloth. In the first video, the ocelot first tries to bite the sloth from behind, on the neck, and the sloth turns over and swipes back at it. In the second, the sloth is slowly moving away from the ocelot on the underside of a trunk crossing the mineral lick. The ocelot follows, and the sloth pays close attention, not letting it get close.”