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Sloths are a type of tree-dwelling mammal typically found in jungle areas of Central and South America. They are typically associated with laziness, although recent research suggests they are more active than people assume. Since October 2012, online interest in sloths has been on the rise, with many internet users sharing photos and videos of the animal as well as creating single topic blogs dedicated to them.
One of the first sites dedicated to sloths (shown below) was created as early as October 2002, as a parody of the fictitious Ninja fansite Real Ultimate Power. In January 2005, a Tripod site claiming to be the “Unofficial Sloth Fanclub” was created, though it did not specify whether or not the fan club celebrated the mammal or a fictional character named Sloth. In October of that year, the blog Sloth Love was launched with a collection of photos and facts about the mammals, but went on hiatus in less than a month. In May 2006, a Last.fm group titled Sloth Appreciation Society was established with playlists based on the listening habits of people who are fans of sloths.
In April 2010, YouTuber Mermaid5651 uploaded a video (shown below, left) of a sloth trying to cross a road in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica very slowly. As it reaches the pavement, a man on a motorcycle pulls over and picks up the sloth, quickly running it across the street as the sloth outstretched his arms. More than a year later, on May 14th, 2011, YouTuber Chema Leon remixed this video, adding a clip from R. Kelly’s 1996 hit “I Believe I Can Fly” (shown below, right), giving it the additional title “Sloth’s Perspective.” Six days later, her video was reuploaded by YouTuber timah99, whose version has been watched more than 7 million times as of March 2013.
Fans of the mammals can be found on Twitter, where they have been tweeted about more than 34,000 times. Additionally, there are dozens of Sloth fan pages on Facebook, with the largest two having nearly 100,000 likes between them. As of March 2013, there are more than 330,000 search results for “sloth” on YouTube. Dozens of single topic Tumblr blogs have been created for sloth fans since June 2010, including Sloth Love, The Sloth Sabbath, Slothville, Your Daily Baby Sloth, Sloth It Like It’s Hot, That Sloth Blog and SlothPls.
Socially Lazy Sloth
On August 21st, 2010, the single topic blog Fuck Yeah Socially Lazy Sloth (shown below, top row) launched, curating dozens of image macros featuring a sloth’s head superimposed on to a blue and green background with captions that generally depict acts of apathy and passivity in social situations. On September 1st, 2010, a Facebook fan page was also established for the advice animal series, gaining almost 500 likes in two and a half years. As of March 2013, there are more than a thousand submissions on the Socially Lazy Sloth Memegenerator page.
Just Lazy Sloth
The series inspired a similar character named Just Lazy Sloth (shown below, bottom row), featuring a similar sloth photo on a red and green background with captions about general malaise, however its corresponding Tumblr blog ceased updating in April 2011.
Dolla Dolla Bill Y’all Sloth
Dolla Dolla Bill Y’all Sloth is an image macro featuring a clip art illustration of a sloth by Portland-based illustrator Ryan Berkley captioned with the memorable line from Wu Tang Clan’s 1994 hip hop single “C.R.E.A.M.” Berkley’s artwork eventually inspired an image macro series that combines various illustrations of animals with violent or sexually explicit rap lyrics.
Kristen Bell’s Sloth Meltdown
In January 2012, Veronica Mars actress Kristen Bell appeared on the daytime talk show Ellen and retold a story (shown below, left) about how her fiancé and actor Dax Shepard brought a sloth to her 31st birthday party. A video clip of her overemotional response to the sloth’s visit before she even saw the animal caused the video to go viral, earning more than 15 million views in slightly more than a year. In January 2013, Bell appeared on Ellen a second time (shown below, right), during which Ellen surprised her by bringing a sloth on stage. Bell was able to feed the animal, named Lola, a banana while Ellen presented her with a basket of sloth-themed presents for her baby.
Astronaut Sloth refers to a photoshopped image created by digital artist Pedro Dionísio in January 2012 that gained notoriety on sites like Tumblr and Reddit after users began pranking people in real life by replacing framed photos or desktop wallpapers with it. One of the first instances of this was posted to Tumblr on October 29th, 2012, when the user alpacalypse claimed she had been changing all of her father’s virtual backgrounds and wallpapers to the Astronaut Sloth photo, culminating in her leaving a framed photo of the sloth (shown below, left) on his desk. Days later, a Redditor claimed he made a similar move when he switched out his boss’ family photos with the sloth (shown below, right).
Rape Sloth is an advice animal image macro series that utilizes a picture of a sloth that appears to be whispering in a woman’s ear. Though the base photo was first uploaded to the web in 2009 in an advertisment for the 2010 Pirelli Calendar, the image macro series did not appear until February 22nd, 2012, when BodyBuilding Forums member VitaCrave started a thread with four captioned images with creepy sexual innuendo and pick up lines. As of March 2013, the Rape Sloth Quickmeme page has more than 330 submissions.
Sloth-Facing is a photoshop meme in which the subject’s eyes and eyebrows are horizontally aligned with the nose as to resemble the face of a sloth and the The Goonies character with the same name.