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January 24, 2007

That’s Why They Call It Sloth

George Carlin once asked, "What does a dog do on its day off?" To which he replied, "It doesn't sleep -- that's its job."

I thought of Carlin when I read this story:

Scientists in the eastern German city of Jena said Wednesday they have finally given up after three years of failed attempts to entice a sloth into budging as part of an experiment in animal movement.

The sloth, named Mats, was remanded to a zoo after consistently refusing to climb up and then back down a pole . . . Neither pounds of cucumbers nor plates of homemade spaghetti were appetizing enough to make Mats move . . .

Mats' new home is the zoo in the northwestern city of Duisburg where, according to all reports, he is very comfortable.

My first reaction to the story was "what do you expect? He's a sloth." Then I wondered, are you sure he's alive? I mean, how could you tell?


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David Cervera

See, I've never understood why such a slow creature as a sloth was considered deadly. And I don't even know what kind of animal a "greed" or a "lust" is!


Probably semantic shift. Sloth is used to translate acedity, and doesn't mean slowness or even laziness, but rather; apathy.

Now an apathetic person might well express that in something resembling laziness.

Lee Hargrove

This is great! There's NO doubt that God has a sense of humor when we look at the other creatures with which we inhabit the planet. I think Mats, the sloth, wasn't REFUSING to do anything; he was just being a sloth. And how amusing that the scientists were annoyed with him for being "lazy" (in their minds) and not performing on their cues. Slothfulness is not a good trait for humans, but for a sloth... hey! leave him alone, please. The sloth can only teach us that sitting around will never get us anywhere; they are not a study in movement. Consider the sloth, O man! (and woman, boy, and girl)

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