Friday, September 16, 2011

Of Sloths and Men

Over the last week I had the opportunity to have two “behind the scenes” tours. One was at the MN Zoo, the other was a “ride along” with a local police officer (and good friend of mine). The first tour was purely for fun; the ride along was research for my next horror novel, SUNLIGHT (my main character has a police background). Both were fun experiences, and the background from the ride along will be invaluable for certain parts of my book. (Thank you, Officer.)

Here is what I learned, comparing the two experiences:


Sloths: You really have to mess with a sloth to make it angry.

People: It doesn’t take that much to piss a person off, really. Many misbehave with little or no provocation at all.


Sloths: can live in one or a few trees for life. They stay high in the air, except once every 7 or 8 days when they come down to the earth to defecate.

People: most are law abiding and inhabit homes or frequent public places with friends and family. Those that don’t abide the law seem to hangout or wander around in places where they don’t belong, for instance retail stores or homes of ex-spouses where court orders are in place to keep them out. The result? More quality time with law enforcement. Defecation may still be involved.


Sloths: The zookeeper is able to conduct routine veterinary care on most sloths without sedatives. Jangled keys and almond extract placed throughout the enclosure may induce sloths to be more active and curious.

People: The police officer carries a taser, a sidearm, handcuffs and sometimes an AR15 or shotgun. These items come can in handy with some of the more lively human specimens.

Care of Young

Sloths: The gestation period for sloths is 10 – 12 months. Sloths nurse their young and otherwise protect them from harm until they reach the age of maturity.

People: may choose to fight with others and/or exercise poor judgment in front of their children with apparent disregard for the short or long term effects on their own offspring.


Sloths: Lay reclined in a comfortable tree branch in the sun or heat lamp, whichever is available.

People: Have advanced minds capable of deciphering complex problems like space travel—but when bored may seek leisure time activities which can be fun and harmless or may take the form of things like drinking and drug abuse, reckless driving, lying, cheating, stealing, vandalizing, assaulting, killing and/or committing suicide.

I’ll leave it to you to figure out which species is smarter.

Holding Area

Sloth: a small enclosure with bars or metal mesh that smells like wiz and poo

Jailhouse inhabitants: a small enclosure with bars or metal mesh that smells like wiz and poo

Sloth vs. Dinosaur

Named after one of the cardinal sins?


Number currently hiding in witness protection

People: Over 7500 witnesses

Sloths: 1

Who’d I rather hang out with some days?

Sloths—but I need to work on my upper body strength first. I also get dizzy hanging upside down.

I hereby dedicate this post to the zookeepers and police officers who do a helluva job day in and day out. I’m glad you’re out there using your good judgment protecting those under your charge and keeping the animals and/or people in line as needed. Keep up the good work.


Qlaudie said...

Terrific, Mark.
Sloths are awesome!

Jon said...

Sloths love Chunk!