We all know sloths spend most of their time hanging out in trees: they eat, sleep, mate and even give birth up there. But every sloth has to come down to earth once in a while, mostly to poop, or maybe to have a little swim. Or maybe to try out a terrifying impersonation of the creepy ghost girl from "The Grudge"

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To be fair to this two-toed sloth, it wasn't intentionally trying to fuel our nightmares for a week with its Kayako Saeki impression. Its brief terrestrial outing was captured by camera traps set up as part of a research programme at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station situated in Ecuador's Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, one of the most species-rich spots on the planet. The sloth is just one of several amazing and rare creatures featured on a video compilation of camera trap gems from Tiputini. (Note: The sloth comes into view at around 2:20, and it's shown at about four times its actual speed.)

According to a mongabay.com interview with the head of the Tiputini camera trap programme, Diego Mosquera, what looks like a horror movie scene to you or me was actually just a salt-seeking excursion for the sloth. Mosquera explains that the two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus) had been a frequent visitor at a saltlick in the area (look closely and you'll see its tongue flicking in and out), leading the research team to wonder about the behaviour. "We know that sloths ... go to saltlicks, but as far as we know, there isn’t much information about the frequency of [these] visits," he says in the interview.

Aside from the strange sloth behaviour, the other animal cameos in the video offer even more proof of the area's amazing biodiversity, underscoring the importance of preserving hotspots like Yasuni – especially in the face of threats posed by oil exploration activities. "I think the best way to show why Yasuni is so important is to make a comparison. In one hectare of forest in Yasuni live more species of plants than in the U.S. and Canada combined ... It is estimated that Yasuni holds more than 100,000 insect species per hectare, perhaps the highest insect diversity recorded anywhere on the planet," says Mosquera.

Check out the full Mongabay interview for more insight into the camera trap finds, which also included rare birds, monkeys and a jaguar family.  

And if, like us, you think sloths are extremely awesome (even when they look utterly terrifying), then head on over to our Slothcentric blog.