On the morning of April 8, keepers were greeted by a delightfully tiny Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth! Born to 15-year-old mother Sammy and 18-year-old father Dustin, this little one is the third sloth baby in the Zoo’s history and the first in over two years.
The baby, which has not yet been named or sexed, is tightly clung to Sammy’s underside. Both mother and child appear to be thriving and are sometimes in public view in their Rainforest Revealed home, but they have ample behind-the-scenes space to which to retreat if Sammy chooses.
Keepers used positive reinforcement techniques to train Sammy to stay still for ultrasound exams, enabling veterinarians to monitor the development of the fetus during the 10-month gestation period.
Linnaeus’s two-toed sloths are native to the rainforests of northern South America. In their natural range, sloths help disperse native plants by swallowing seeds in one location and defecating them elsewhere.
Although they are indeed adorable creatures (especially as babies), sloths do not make good pets. In addition to very specific dietary and veterinary needs, sloths have long claws and sharp teeth that they won’t hesitate to use if they’re scared or stressed. If you can’t make the trip down to South America, the best place to get your sloth fix is at your local accredited animal care facility.