Sloth

Sloth Born At Brevard Zoo

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.

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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.”


Meet Pauline, Zoo Vienna’s Sloth Baby

Zoo Vienna has introduced Pauline, their lockdown baby! She is the offspring of sloths Alberta and Einstein. Little Pauline was born on April 24th during the Zoo’s first closure due to the lockdown. Now Zoo Vienna has charmed us with video of the baby. The little one already weighs three kilograms and has been holding onto rope for short distances. Usually, though, she lies on Mama Alberta like she’s in a hammock.

📸: Daniel Zupanc


Time for a ZooBorns Triple-Header!

 

Klipspringer at Brevard Zoo

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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

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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

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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.

It’s a baby… SLOTH!!

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Roger Williams Park Zoo & Carousel Village's Sloth Mom Fiona and Dad Welsey welcomed their little one into the world on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.
Fiona and her baby had a hard delivery and needed emergency care and a lot of extra help.
 
Veterinarians and animal care staff manually assisted with the birth when it was clear that Fiona was not able to make additional progress. At first the baby was not moving, but after being warmed finally responded.
 
Fiona’s pregnancy journey began in mid-autumn of 2019 and to now see this healthy little sloth is truly heartwarming for the entire Zoo family. Today mom and baby are doing well but will require lots of continual love and care.

Denver Zoo’s Sloth Baby Finally Arrives!

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After what felt like an eternity for the Denver Zoo, their long-awaited Linne’s Two-toed Sloth baby finally arrived on April 11.

The new baby, whose name and sex are yet to be determined, has been deemed “very healthy” by the Zoo’s veterinary team. The infant was born to 23-year-old mom, Charlotte Greenie, and her 28-year-old mate, Elliot. The little one is said to be bonding and resting with Charlotte in their Bird World habitat, while dad and older sister, Baby Ruth (who was born in January 2018), are temporarily off-exhibit to give mom and baby time and space to bond.

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When Denver Zoo announced Charlotte’s pregnancy in December, they estimated that the baby would be born as early as January. However, Sloth due dates are notoriously challenging to predict because they are primarily active at night and breeding is rarely observed. The Zoo’s animal care team closely monitored Charlotte for months to ensure that she and the baby were healthy and gaining the appropriate amount of weight. According to keepers, the baby clung to Charlotte immediately after birth and will remain attached to her almost exclusively for at least six months.

Linne’s Two-toed Sloths (Choloepus didactylus)---also known as the Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloth or Southern Two-toed Sloth---are found in the rainforests of South America, primarily in Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. They are a nocturnal species that spend 15 to 20 hours per day sleeping, and become active about an hour after sunset until about two hours before sunrise. Linne’s are among two types of sloth: two-toed and three-toed—and six different species, including the Pygmy Three-toed, Maned, Pale-throated, Brown-throated, and Hoffman’s. Although the Linnaeus’s Two-toed is not currently considered threatened, two other species, the Pygmy Three-toed and Maned, are “critically endangered” and “vulnerable”, respectively.

Denver Zoo keepers say the best time to visit the new baby and mother is late in the afternoon when mom, Charlotte, is more likely to be moving around. Keepers ask that visitors keep their voices low while the baby adjusts to life in its new world.

Be sure to follow the Denver Zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for regular baby sloth updates!


Brevard Zoo Welcomes Birth of Second Baby Sloth

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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”.

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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.


Baby Sloth Has a Favorite Blankie

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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.

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“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.


Two-toed Sloth Welcomed at Capron Park Zoo

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Capron Park Zoo, in Attleboro, Massachusetts, welcomed a baby Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth on August 24.

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Because the little sloth sticks close to mom, veterinarians still don’t know the sex, but they report that the baby is moving around on its own. The Zoo is also happy to share that the baby sloth is learning to eat solid food...by taking it right from mom’s paws and mouth!

Hoffmann's two-toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) is a species native to Central and South America.

It is solitary, largely nocturnal and arboreal. The species prefers mature and secondary rainforests and deciduous forests.

The Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth is currently classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. However, habitat destruction is causing a gradual decrease in the wild population.

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Hellabrunn Zoo Waits Four Years for Sloth Baby

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Visitors to Hellabrunn Zoo might need a little patience to spot one of their newest residents. A Linnaeus's Two-toed Sloth baby, with brown button eyes, can be seen clinging to protective mom Maya, high up in a tree in the middle of the Zoo’s Rhino House. Born on June 18, the new offspring is the first Two-toed Sloth born at Hellabrunn Zoo in four years.

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The Linnaeus's Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus didactylus) is native to Central and South America usually sleeps between 15 and 20 hours a day. Considering that they can live up to the age of 40, this means they sleep for almost 34 years of their lives.

In the wild, sloths live with their parents for about one to two years. Females become sexually mature at the age of three, while males do not attain maturity until the age of four to five.

Maya is a first-time mom, and the experienced father is 26-year-old Heinz. It is not yet known whether their new baby sloth is a boy or girl.

"Determining the sex of a sloth based on external features alone is subject to error. So it will probably take a while until we are 100 per cent certain of the sex of the pup", explained Carsten Zehrer, curator for sloths at Hellabrunn Zoo. Accordingly, the little sloth has not yet been given a name.

Two-toed Sloths are inhabitants of the rainforest. Like many of the other fauna and flora of this habitat, they are severely impacted by deforestation and the resulting loss of habitat.

Although sloth behavior is not fully understood, it is known that they spend most of their lives hanging upside down from tree branches. Sloths have a low calorie diet, which means they need to conserve the little energy they receive from their food – by moving very slowly and very little. However, sloths are surprisingly strong swimmers, provided they can reach water.

Unlike most other mammals that have hair parting on their heads or backs, the sloth's fur runs in the opposite direction – from belly to back – with the parting on the belly. This upside down hanging fur helps water run right off its body when it rains.

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