Dego the pygmy sloth is a few weeks old, and already he is great at being a sloth.
A perfect fuzzy miniature of his mum, he has a face of dashing features he saw once reflected in the water. A dark brown eye mask with a big blonde unibrow topped off with a crown of dark tufty hair - he might just be the most handsome sloth in all the island. Although, admittedly, his eye sight is rather poor - he’s only really ever seen his mum. But still.
Mum is his main form of transport. She is a cuddling, carrying, milk-making machine and he clings onto her all day long as very, very slowly she makes her way across their favourite mangrove trees. When it’s hot they stay low and shelter under the luscious green branches, when its cool they make their way up to the tree tops and bathe in the toasty sunshine.
Sloth life is the good life, for up to 20 hours a day Dego snoozes away in Mum’s tufty caramel hair. Together they hang in the trees like a big ball of fur, looking out at the sea and watching the world go speedily by. In the day hummingbirds whizz around, sucking up nectar and hovering in the air, their wings moving so fast they’re just a blur. At night the fruit bats zoom in snatching snacks wherever they can find them - their leathery wings carrying their fuzzy bodies almost silently across the sky. Little red frogs hop up and down the trees, a host of insect life buzzes and munches away, giant snakes slither across the forest floor and all the while Dego and mum just snoooooze.
Life goes by undisturbed, they munch leaves, sleep, munch leaves, sleep. All the while hanging upside down, just the way they like it. Until, every so often, it’s time.
Poo time. Once a week Mum and Dego have to brave the forest floor. And that once a week is today.
As they sloooowly head down the mangroves, Dego squeaks at mum and dig his sharp claws into her belly. He doesn’t like being on the ground and he doesn’t want to go - he’ll just hold it in! Maybe they can go to the toilet next week… but Mum’s having none of it. They reach the ground and it’s time to crawl.
There’s no hanging upside down on the forest floor. A massive tangle of roots, mum uses her long, gangly arms to clumsily drag them over its surface. She travels even slower and the ride is awkward and bumpy exposing them to dangers like secret, slithering snakes – camouflaged amongst the undergrowth. Just waiting to spring out and snap him up.
She finds them a good patch of ground and they start to scoop out dirt from the floor using their giant clumsy claws.
Pooping once a week means that when the deed is done Dego feels a whole third lighter. Much relieved, they clamber up the first tree they can find - back to safety and seeing the world the right way round - upside down.
Nice and high up again, they settle into the branches for a good day of sleep after their adventure on the forest floor.
When suddenly, they hear a noise…
Watch out for chapter 2 soon!