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How to Design a City for Sloths

A conservation foundation in Costa Rica is trying to help the tree-dwelling mammals survive rapid urbanization by building road crossings. 

A rescued sloth in Venezuela. The animals face growing pressure from development and deforestation in Central and South America. 

A rescued sloth in Venezuela. The animals face growing pressure from development and deforestation in Central and South America. 

Photographer: YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images

It’s hard to think of an animal less suited for jaywalking than a sloth.

As pedestrians, sloths do not walk as much as ooze, inching forward commando-style with their bellies to the ground, as if trying to dodge a museum’s laser-security system. From a distance, the 10 long minutes it takes an average sloth to walk across the street might look more like the end of a yoga class.