Belfast Zoological Garden’s baby boom isn’t slowing down, although the latest newborn there is considered the world’s slowest mammal! On December 12, keepers were delighted to discover a baby Linne’s Two-toed Sloth.
Sloths are found in the treetops of Central and South American rain forests. They spend nearly all of their time aloft, hanging from branches with a powerful grip, due in large part to their long claws. They are a nocturnal species, and so sleep for 15 to 20 hours every day. Their diet of leaves provides little energy; in order to conserve their resources, they move very slowly. In fact, even when they are awake, they often remain motionless.
Photo Credit: Belfast Zoo
Due to the Sloth’s nocturnal behavior, the baby has been named Luna, which means ‘moon’ in Spanish. Zoo Curator, Andrew Hope, said, “Newborn Two-toed Sloths use the stomach of their mother as a cradle and are well camouflaged in her fur so it can be quite difficult to spot them. Our keepers discovered that Natja had given birth at 12:00 p.m. on the 12th of December in 2012 -- and if that isn’t special enough, this is the first Sloth to be born at Belfast Zoo and in Ireland! It is fair to say that we are ‘over the moon’ with Luna’s arrival.”
See another picture of the sleepy Sloth after the fold: