A Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth born at Brevard Zoo on May 12 is receiving specialized attention from animal care staff after the baby’s mother, Tango, was not interested in looking after the little one, and attempts to reunite the pair were unsuccessful.
The yet-to-be-named newborn, who was fathered by Dustin, is bottle-fed goat’s milk every three hours around the clock.
Because young sloths typically cling to their mothers at this age, the baby was given a variety of stuffed animals to hold.
Zoo staff have not yet identified the sex of the sloth as this will require a laboratory test.
This is the second sloth to arrive at the Zoo this spring. The first was born to Sammy on April 8; that baby is being reared by their mother and is visible to guests in the Rainforest Revealed section of the Zoo.
Sloths are threatened by the wildlife trade and habitat loss. The Zoo urges tourists visiting Central or South America to pass on “photo ops” with sloths, which often feature animals unsustainably removed from their natural habitat.
On the morning of April 8, Brevard Zoo’s animal care staff were greeted by a 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, 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 objectively adorable creatures (especially as babies), experts caution against keeping sloths as pets.
“Sloths are high-maintenance animals that need professional care, and they don’t belong in the home,” said Michelle Smurl, the Zoo’s director of animal programs. “They 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 way to get your sloth fix is to visit your local accredited animal care facility.”
Brevard Zoo animal care staff are doting over two tiny galahs. The older chick hatched on March 21, and the younger sibling emerged from its egg six days later. The latter has yet to open its eyes. They are the first galahs to ever hatch at the Zoo.
The eggs were placed in a climate-controlled incubator several weeks ago because the chicks’ parents had not successfully hatched out young in the past. The chicks—who have not yet been named or sexed—are syringe-fed a specialized parrot formula nine times throughout the day.
These youngsters will stay behind the scenes for at least a few weeks, then move to a public-facing habitat with the rest of the Zoo’s galah flock.
Galahs are members of the cockatoo family native to Australia. As adults, they are famed for their vibrant pink plumage.
A klipspringer was born at Brevard Zoo on Sunday, August 23 to four-year-old mother Deborah. Veterinary staff performed a neonatal exam on the newborn, who appeared to be in good health and was determined to be a male.
The calf, who does not yet have a name and weighed roughly 1.5 pounds at birth, was sired by five-year-old Ajabu. The youngster will spend several weeks bonding with his mother behind the scenes before transitioning to public view.
Klipspringer typically give birth to one calf following a gestation period of six to seven months. These tiny antelope—which weigh between 18 and 40 pounds as adults—live in rocky areas of sub-Saharan Africa, where their sure-footedness helps them elude predators like leopards, caracals and eagles.
Although this species does not face any major threats, it is sometimes hunted by humans for its meat and hide.
Two-toed Sloth at ZSL London Zoo
ZSL London Zoo has shared the first footage taken by keepers of its newest arrival - a baby two-toed sloth named Truffle, born to parents Marilyn and Leander at the iconic zoo last month.
The cute clip was taken as Marilyn took her young cub to explore its lush new surroundings for the first time earlier this week - after spending their initial days together snuggled high in the leafy treetops of the Zoo’s Rainforest Life exhibit.
Eagle-eyed keepers first spotted the newborn on Thursday 13 August on their early morning rounds, when they were overjoyed to find the tiny baby clinging to slow-moving mum Marilyn, who had delivered the healthy youngster the night before – a few weeks earlier than expected.
ZSL sloth keeper Marcel McKinley said: “We knew Marilyn was coming to the end of her pregnancy, but thought she had a little longer to go as we’d not seen any of her usual tell-tale signs – such as heading to a cosy corner or off-show area for privacy.
“But this is Marilyn and Leander’s fifth baby, so she had clearly taken it all in her stride, giving us a lovely surprise to wake up to.
“Sloths have a long gestation period so the infants are physically well-developed when they’re born and able to eat solid food right away,” explained Marcel. “At three-weeks-old Marilyn’s little one is already very inquisitive, constantly using its nose to sniff around for snacks - which is why we gave it the name Truffle.”
Lucky visitors to London’s famous zoo will now be able to see Truffle and Marilyn in the only living rainforest in the city - a lush, tropical paradise, heated to 28C all year round, which the family shares with titi monkeys, tree anteaters, emperor tamarin monkeys and red-footed tortoises.
Keepers won’t know the youngster’s sex until confirmed by vets after hair DNA is analysed. Boy or girl, the newborn is a valuable addition to its species and once its sex is confirmed, its details will be added to the European Studbook (ESB), part of a coordinated breeding programme for two-toed sloths.
Nocturnal mammals native to South America, two-toed sloths (Choloepus didactylus) may be famously slow but they are impressive climbers: clinging tightly to mum for up to six months will enable the infant to build up the valuable muscles needed to climb easily from branch to branch, while its characteristically impressive claws - which will grow up to four inches in length - will also help when the youngster is ready to move through the trees on its own.
Kangaroo Joeys at Nashville Zoo
Baby kangaroos (called joeys) are starting to emerge from their mother's pouches just in time for the Zoo's poupular Kangaroo Kickabout to reopen for guests tomorrow, September 4.
“We are so happy to be able to reopen the kangaroo habitat and offer this unique experience to our guests and members,” said Megan Cohn, Nashville Zoo’s Contact Area Supervisor. “Marsupials, including kangaroos, are so different than most other mammals. To be able to have our guests see and learn about them is why we are here.”
After just 30 days of gestation, red kangaroos (Macropus rufus) are born about the size of a jellybean. They crawl up through the mother’s fur from the birth canal into the pouch where they continue developing for six months before poking their heads out to see the world. Nashville Zoo currently has 10 joeys in various stages of development including a few that can be seen hopping around their habitat.
Red kangaroos are native to Australia and are the largest of their species. Males can grow to six feet or more and weigh nearly 200 pounds. Females are smaller, growing to about 5 feet and 100 pounds. Kangaroos are not endangered and their populations are considered stable though their wild population and habitat were severely damaged during widespread brush fires in late 2019 and early 2020. In January, Nashville Zoo committed $30,000 to support Australia’s efforts to rescue and protect wildlife affected by the wildfires. Additionally, the Zoo will donate all funds from the 2020 Round Up initiative, a program offering guests the option to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar amount to donate to conservation.
Eight young Tarantulas, or “Spiderlings,” were brought to Brevard Zoo after being confiscated from an importer by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The small Spiders, which are each about the size of a quarter, include four Brazilian Whiteknee Tarantulas (shown above on quarter and in bottom photo) and four Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird-eating Tarantulas (below).
Photo Credit: Brevard Zoo
The Spiders came via Woodland Park Zoo, which took in a total of 250 Tarantulas from USFWS. It is likely that the Spiderlings were bred from illegally wild-caught adults because Brazil does not permit the export of fully-grown Tarantulas. The Spiderlings were most likely headed to the pet trade.
“We hope to use these Arachnids to help zoo guests learn more about the importance of Spiders and the impacts of wildlife trafficking,” said Michelle Smurl, the zoo’s director of animal programs.
The Spiderlings are currently housed in a behind-the-scenes area, but plans are to introduce them to zoo guests during keeper chats later this year.
Brazilian Whiteknee Tarantulas can grow to a leg span of eight-and-a-half inches. Unlike many larger Tarantulas, this species is very colorful in appearance due to the white stripes that adorn its knees.
Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird-eating Tarantulas are among the largest in the world, reaching a leg span of 11 inches. Aside from what its name suggests, this species also feeds on various Insects, Lizards and Frogs.
Brevard Zoo welcomed a new face on April 15 when three-year-old Klipspringer, Deborah, gave birth to a calf.
A neonatal exam revealed that the new arrival (who weighed less than two pounds at birth) is a female and is properly nursing from her mother. The tiny beauty has been named Clarice.
“This adorable little girl is doing wonderfully,” said Michelle Smurl, the Zoo’s director of animal programs. “Deborah is taking great care of her, grooming her often.”
Photo Credits: Brevard Zoo
The newborn, who was sired by four-year-old Ajabu, is currently behind the scenes with her mother and will be introduced to dad, Ajabu, before transitioning into the public-facing habitat in Expedition Africa.
The Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) is a small antelope found in eastern and southern Africa. As an adult, the species reaches 43–60 centimeters (17–24 inches) at the shoulder and weighs from 8 to 18 kilograms (18 to 40 lbs.).
After a gestation period of six to seven months, Klipspringer typically give birth to one offspring. They are sexually mature at one year and can live up to 18 years in human care. With specialized hooves each roughly the diameter of a dime as an adult, the Klipspringer is a skilled climber; it is typically found around mountains, hills and rocky outcrops in its native Africa.
The Klipspringer does not face any major threats, but it is sometimes hunted for use as meat or leather.
On the morning of January 4, Brevard Zoo welcomed another baby in the form of a Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloth. According to keepers, the infant’s 13- year-old mother, Sammy, is taking great care of her newborn.
“Sammy is not a first-time mom, so she has experience in raising babies,” said Michelle Smurl, Director of Animal Programs at the Zoo. “We’re glad to be able to take a hands-off approach and see the newborn thriving in a more natural setting.”
The newborn’s sex is currently unknown, as testing is needed to determine this information in sloths. The new baby will remain with mom for around six months before becoming independent.
Sammy and her baby are located in the La Selva exhibit but are not viewable to the public due to construction. However, guests may have the opportunity to spot the pair, from above, on “Treetop Trek”.
Sammy’s firstborn, Tango, also resides at Brevard Zoo. Tango gave birth to baby Lorenzo in October 2018. Unfortunately, Tango didn’t demonstrate interest in her baby, likely because she was a first-time mother, so the decision was made by animal care staff to hand-raise Lorenzo.
The Linnaeus's Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus didactylus) is from South America. The species is found in Venezuela, the Guyanas, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil north of the Amazon River. There is now evidence suggesting the species' range expands into Bolivia. They are currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.
Brevard Zoo greeted a new furry face on October 17 when Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloth Tango gave birth. The as-yet-unnamed newborn, who is the first Sloth born at the Zoo, will be hand-raised because Tango showed no interest in her new baby.
Photo Credit: Brevard Zoo
“When we found the baby away from Tango, we tried to reunite them,” said Lauren Hinson, a curator of animals at the Zoo. “But the new mother was not nursing, nor did she show interest in the newborn. Tango is a first-time mother whose inexperience likely led her to not care for the little one.”
Hinson stepped in to provide round-the-clock care for the Sloth, who receives a bottle of goats’ milk every two and a half hours. For the next five months, Hinson will be the baby’s primary caregiver and will closely monitor the baby’s growth and development. After five months, the baby will be weaned from the bottle. The Sloth weighed 11.2 ounces at birth.
Because newborn Sloths naturally cling to their mother’s fur, animal care staff had to find a suitable substitute for the newborn to cling to. They presented the baby with several types of cloth and blankets and allowed it to choose a favorite. By coincidence, the baby chose a Sloth-print blanket from the Zoo’s gift shop.
The newborn’s dad is male Sloth Dustin. Males Sloths do not participate in the care of their young.
The baby’s sex not yet known. DNA lab tests are sometimes needed to confirm a baby Sloth’s gender.
Well-known for their slow-paced lifestyle, Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloths face challenges from the exotic pet trade and habitat loss in the rain forests of South America.