Sloth

Meet the Flintstones!

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Fred and Wilma are parents again!  The pair of Two-Toed Sloths are residents of the South American Aviary at the Heidelberg Zoo in Heidelberg, Germany.  On June 29th, the parents welcomed their third offspring.  The sex of the new cub isn't known yet, but the baby's name will find its inspiration from the Flintstones, as were the rest of the family's names.  Older siblings, Pebbles and Bam-Bam, have been successfully re-homed at zoos in France.

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Photo Credits: Thomas Bersch

Sloths spend the first few weeks of their lives well hidden and sheltered close to the mother.  By nature, sloths are solitary creatures, but parents, Fred and Wilma, have demonstrated a unique and intimate relationship.  The South American Aviary of Heidelberg Zoo is furnished with natural vegetation, and Fred and Wilma are often seen sharing a tree branch close to each other.

Two-Toed Sloths have a gestation period of six months to a year.  The mother gives birth to a single cub, while upside down.  Normally, a male sloth will have no interaction with the female once the infant arrives.  Zoos generally separate the mates for a time and place mother and child in isolation.  However, Fred and Wilma have proven an exception to the rule.  They have chosen to remain close throughout the process, and keepers at Heidelberg Zoo attest to the three cuddling so tight “it is difficult to see where a sloth begins and the other leaves off.”

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Surprise Sloth Baby Is a London Zoo First!

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ZSL London Zoo has welcomed its first ever baby Sloth, after a very surprise pregnancy.

Zookeepers were dealt a huge surprise in the Rainforest Life exhibit when female Sloth Marilyn was found to be pregnant – as they didn’t even know the male and female had mated.

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10498678_524835967552866_890713677474636574_oPhoto credit: Paul Boyd

 

Male Leander arrived from Germany at the end of 2012 to be paired with ZSL London Zoo’s resident female Marilyn, but despite their ploys to get the pair together, keepers had no idea that the sloths had even acknowledged one another, let alone successfully mated.

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Meet the 3-Day-Old Sloth at Ellen Trout Zoo

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Only three days old in these photos, this male Linne's Two-toed Sloth born at Texas’s Ellen Trout Zoo is already strong enough to hang onto mom’s fur as she climbs about.  The fifth baby for this mother, he arrived on January 16. 

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Photo Credit:  Ellen Trout Zoo

At 24 hours old, the baby had his first veterinary exam and was pronounced healthy.  He’s already had a small weight gain!  Zoo keepers remove the baby from mom daily for a quick weight check.  Mom tolerates this interaction because keepers always give her a healthy treat during the baby’s brief exam. 

Linne’s Two-toed Sloths are native to the rain forests of northern South America, where they spend most of their lives high in the treetops.  These sloths feed on plant material and use their long, hooked claws to suspend themselves from tree branches.  Though they are slow-moving, Linne’s Two-toed Sloths are excellent swimmers and can easily cross rivers and streams. 

See more photos below the fold.

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Two-Toed Sloth Joins the Family at the National Aquarium

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The National Aquarium welcomed a new addition to their Upland Tropical Rainforest—a baby sloth! The baby, named Scout, was born on November 17 to mother Ivy. In order to give Ivy and her baby time to bond, the staff has been observing the pair from a distance. Because of this, the newborn’s weight, height, and gender have yet to be determined. The baby joins an ever growing family of five with Syd, Howie, Xeno, Camden and Ivy. Scout is the fourth sloth born at the aquarium and the second born to Ivy. In celebration of Scout’s arrival, the National Aquarium has set up a baby registry. Fans can make donations to help purchase essential supplies to help care for Scout.

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“Our team is thrilled to welcome another baby sloth to our Rain Forest habitat,” said Ken Howell, Curator of the Upland Tropical Rain Forest. “It is an honor to work with these incredible animals and inspire our guests to learn more about the ways they can protect them.”

Sloths have had a home at the aquarium since 2007. Linne’s Two-Toes Sloths can be found in the aquarium’s Upland Tropical Rainforest, an exhibit modeled after the species' native habitat—South American rain forests. These slow moving mammals spend almost their entire lives in the trees, sleeping up to 20 hours a day.


Hand-raised Sloth Thrives at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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A little Hoffman's Two-toed Sloth is being hand-raised at Rosamond Gifford Zoo in New York. The young Sloth, a female, has named named Araña, the Spanish word for spider.

Says Zoo Director Ted Fox, “It is extremely rare for Sloths to be hand-reared, especially from such a very early age. The dynamic of our Sloth group led us to make the decision to hand-raise her, and we could not be more pleased with the remarkable success we have had.”

Born on August 1, Araña is the 49th Sloth baby to be born at the zoo, but the first to be hand-raised. Hand-raising a baby Sloth is not an easy task; zoos seldom choose to hand-raise Sloths, as past attempts have rarely been successful. But little Araña is thriving under very dedicated and careful attention, making the Rosamond Gifford Zoo the first known zoo in the United States to successfully hand-raise a Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth. 

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Hand-raised Sloth babies are typically habituated through hands-on contact with their keepers and supplemental feedings, but remain with their mothers. Other U.S. zoos have hand-reared the Linne’s Two-toed Sloth, and the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica has had success in hand-raising the Hoffmann’s. 

“Our zoo has a long history with Hoffmann’s Two-toed sloths; the species first arrived here in 1983. I commend the animal staff for their excellent work in caring for Araña, particularly given her unique situation,” said County Executive Joanie Mahoney.

Sloths are adapted for life in the tree canopy in lowland and upland tropical forests, and are native to Central America and northern South America, including portions of Peru and central Brazil. They are nocturnal and the world's slowest mammal, typically sleeping 15 hours or more each day. They travel hand-over-hand through the tree tops up to 120 feet (36 m) off the ground, and only venture to the ground about once a week.

Hoffman's Two-toed Sloths have long and well-developed limbs with two long, curved claws on their front feet and three on their hind, which enable them to hang upside down from tree limbs. They have difficulty with mobility on the ground because they are physically incapable of truly walking, but are actually good swimmers using a type of overhand stroke.

Sloths are not on the endangered species list. However, their habitat is quickly being destroyed, leaving them homeless and vulnerable to a decrease in their population size. They are part of a Species Survival Plan, a collaborative effort between the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and zoos around the world to help ensure their survival. These programs coordinate breeding between zoos, so that populations in captivity can retain healthy genetic diversity. 


Snacktime for Sloths at Capron Park Zoo

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A Hoffman's Two-toed Sloth was born in early September at Capron Park Zoo in Massachusetts. The baby is doing very well and enjoys hanging on to mom, munching on leaves, and taking naps. The little Hoffman's Sloth has been named Rayne for Dustin Hoffman's character in the movie Rainman, and is mom's second successful birth. The first, born last year, is named Hassel, for David Hasselhoff. 

Sloths are famously slow South American mammals that spend most of their time hanging upside-down from trees. After a long gestation period of about a year, Two-toed Sloths may even give birth while hanging upside-down!

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Sleepy Sloth Clings to Mom at Zoo Budapest

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On September 21, a Sloth was born at Zoo Budapest to first-time mom, Lili. The Sloth baby, a healthy male, has been given the respectable name Zippo. He lives in a community of six Sloths, including his maternal grandmother Banya and his father, who was traded in from another zoo in order to prevent inbreeding. Lucky visitors to the zoo may be able to catch a glimpse of the baby clinging to his mother in the New World tropical exhibit.

Sloths take their time with everything, and their reproductive cycle is no exception. They have an especially long gestation period lasting 44 to 50 weeks. After a year or so of pregnancy, the mother will spend six to nine months caring for her baby. They also take a long time to reach sexual maturity, only reproducing for the first time  between 3.5 and 5 years of age. Because it takes so much time and work to successfully raise offspring, it's a good thing that these creatures can live up to 40 years.

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3 slothPhoto credits: L. Kékesdi Gyula /  Zoo Budapest 


San Diego Zoo's Newest Ambassador Needs A Name!

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The youngest member of the San Diego Zoo's animal ambassador team is a five-month-old Linnaeus's Two-toed Sloth, and this female baby needs a name!

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Photo Credit:  Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

The zoo staff has selected four names for the public to vote on:

Xena (pronounced ZEE-nah): The taxonomic superorder Xenarthra is comprised of Armadillos, Sloths and Anteaters.

Dulce (pronounced DUEL-say): This is Spanish for sweet

Guiana (pronounced gee-ON-a): Two-toed sloths are native to this region in northeastern South America.

Subida (pronounced soo-BEE-dah): In Spanish, this word means rise, increase, ascent, and way up.

Visit this website to cast your vote.    The baby Sloth is currently being trained to meet people up close during special animal presentations and outings.

Sloths are slow-moving, solitary, arboreal, forest-dwelling nocturnal herbivores, found in tropical forests and cloud forests in Central and South America. Their sharp claws are 3 to 4 inches long and come in handy for hanging onto trees. Sloths sleep 15 to 18 hours per day and (slowly) look for food the rest of the day.


Save Our Sloths!

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Years before Sloths inspired best selling books, TV specials and Kirsten Bell meltdowns, ZooBorns was delivering them to your eyeballs courtesy of The Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica. This unique facility has been rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned and injured sloths for over 20 years. Now they need our help.

With almost 150 Sloths in their care, The Sloth Sanctuary is reaching capacity and needs to release more rescued animals back into the wild. In order to ensure these animals are thriving, biologist Rebecca Cliffe is raising money for GPS tracking equipment that will allow staff to monitor the released animals. This will also provide critical data in support of the Sloth Backpack Project, which seeks to better understand sloth diet, habitat preferences and reproductive habits. Learn more about this effort and contribute to Save Our Sloths on Indiegogo.

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Bucket of Baby Sloths.jpgHow many baby Sloth can you count above? Photo credits: Becky Cliffe / The Sloth Sanctuary

Need that link again? Learn more about this effort and contribute to Save Our Sloths on Indiegogo.