Cats of the Internet, move aside — but take your time, because your replacement is moving very slowly. Baby sloths are the new Internet darling, thanks to a sloth sanctuary recently featured on Animal Planet. A video of its occupants went viral, and now online denizens can’t get enough of the Central and South American mammal.
The Avarios Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica kicked off the craze when, last year, Lucy Cooke posted video of baby sloths sleeping, scratching and slowly chewing veggies:
According to Popular Science, Cooke was contacted by the Discovery Channel shortly afterwards, and a sloth documentary was in the works. “Too Cute! Baby Sloths” aired on the Discovery Channel on Dec. 17, and Cooke plans to write a book called “The Little Book of Sloth.”
Sloth viral videos will make any lover of cute animals go sqeeeee, but a sloth’s laziness has also been mined for comedic effect in memes. The socially lazy sloth meme created the character of a sloth that suffers not just from laziness, but also agoraphobia. It shows the image of a brown-throated sloth that says, for example, “One thing to do today. Can’t hang out, I’m so busy.”
Suspiciously evil sloth shows a different sloth with a menacing grin and a few creepy phrases befitting an animal serial killer, while stoner sloth is one of several blissed-out animals who partake in illegal drugs.
So what’s the reason for the sloth’s sudden popularity? Is it because our LOLcats have run out of things to say? Or is it because their mellow, blissed-out faces and perpetual laziness appeal to a nation of go-getters? Said Cooke in a Q&A with the Village Voice: “I think there is a bit of the sloth in all of us. Any animal that is as mellow as the sloth has to be admired. And the babies are so vulnerable and awkward, they are basically cute crack.”