I am not sure whether I need a surgeon or an exterminator.
I have a three-toed sloth, bradypus variegatus, hanging from my neck. That is, his long fore-claws are wrapped around my left jugular, but his back claws are wound tightly around my heart. He hangs there, heavy and slow, pulling at my neck and heart when I move or roll over. He moved in around midnight, November 2, and I haven’t been able to get rid of him.
You know how I hate to diagnose myself, not being a medical professional. And I can’t find my condition using the symptom checker at webmd.com, but even without the texts or a decent sloth-infestation Yahoo discussion group to back me up, I’m fairly certain. It’s troublesome to me that I cannot make anyone see the animal, but I certainly feel him, all 10 lbs. of him, hanging there, at my neck, at my heart. Those long, long claws.
Above all, I can feel his claws. Once in awhile he shifts his grip, regrips, and settles again.
And of course, spending time with a sloth is nothing if not draining. One should not associate with them if one wants to be productive. I find myself influenced by his every behavior, moving more slowly, blinking and staring and using very little energy. I did not exercise at all last week.
But today is a beautiful November day. Sparkling and bright. The leaves are nearly gone, and the woods are a completely different place than they have been. The last left, the over-wintering animals are busy at their industry. Squirrels gathering what they can, mice packing their bags for the big move into my house. I would be enjoying all this bustle but for this creature who has taken over my life.
I think it’s time for him to go.
How to get rid of an unwanted sloth? It’s nearly impossible to scare them. They don’t scare. You can’t really lure them with food, they burn so few calories, and are content to eat whatever’s in front of them, or not at all. The best thing one can do is make the entire habitat unappealing so that they, by degrees, become annoyed enough to expend their precious energy and move on: Exercise. Sloths loathe action.
So, I’m off. Strapping on my shoes and heading for a long hike through this crisp day. It may take a few long, long, long hikes like this one before I’m able to fully extricate this creature, encourage him to move along. But move along he must. I’ve got work to do.