On April 16th, Zoo Vienna welcomed a new member to their zoo in the form of a baby Two-Toed Sloth. Since then, the baby has been hitching a ride on its mother, where it will spend the next six months of its life. "Newborn Sloths use their mother for the first half year as a hammock and cling to her belly fur and cuddle," explained zoo Director Dagmar Schratter.
This is already fourth baby for parents Alberta and Einstein in the six years they have lived at Zoo Vienna. "Alberta is already an experienced mother. She nurses her baby, grooms it and shows him how to nibble lettuce leaves," Schratter said. Visitors can try to catch a view of the baby, whose sex has yet to be determined, clinging to its mother's belly in the zoo's aviary.
Photo Credits: Norbert Potensky / Zoo Vienna
Two-Toed Sloths, native to the rainforests of South America, spend their lives in the trees crawling through the canopies clinging upside down to branches. They have specially adapted long curved claws to help assist them in this lifestyle. Another notable adapation for this inverted lifestyle is the way sloths' hair parts. In order to allow rain water to drain easily, their hair is parted along their bellies, not their backs. Sloths generally move very slowly, simply because they don't have to move any quicker. With a fantastically camouflaged coat there is little worry about predation and sloths can slowly make their way through the canopy searching for their diet of fruits, leaves and buds.