Two-Toed Sloth Joins the Family at the National Aquarium


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.


“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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6 slothPhoto credit: Rosamond Gifford Zoo / Jaime Alvarez

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!

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!

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.

Baby Sloth Clings to Mom at Zoo Vienna


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.

Mystic Aquarium Visits Baby Sloth at Sloth Sanctuary Costa Rica


Is this baby Three-toed Sloth smiling? Only three weeks old, it seemingly posed for photographer Patrick Shea, part of the team representing Mystic Aquarium, Nautilus Live and The JASON Project. They were in Costa Rica the week of March 19, researching for a new Mystic Aquarium exhibit to open next year. The group was also scouting locations for live programming through JASON and Nautilus. Along the way they made a visit to the Sloth Sanctuary Costa Rica, where they rescue and rehabilitate injured and orphaned Sloths, and met the little one.

There are both Two-toed and Three-toed Sloths. Both are built for living their entire life - even when having babies - hanging in the trees, aided by those long, powerful claws. They are so sedentary that moss grows on their coat (which aids them as camouflage while living among the leaves)! This has won them the informal title of worlds slowest mammal. They sleep from 15-20 hours a day, and even while awake, they move very little, unless threatened by a predator.  At night they eat the trees leaves, shoots, and fruit and get almost all of their water from juicy plants.

You can read more ZooBorns posts about sloths from this sanctuary HERE

Photo Credit: Patrick Shea/Sea Research Foundation

It's Breakfast Time for Baby Sloth

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A baby Linne’s Two-toed Sloth, born on February 3 at the Minnesota Zoo, is slowly making its public debut.  The infant is only the second Sloth born at the zoo and is a significant achievement for the Sloth breeding program. 

The baby’s gender is not yet known, and it spends most of its time clinging to mom.  The video below captures mom and baby nibbling a nutritious breakfast of carrots, squash, hard-boiled eggs, and romaine lettuce, hand-delivered by zoo keepers.  In the wild, Sloths eat leaves, small twigs, berries, flowers, fruit, and occasionally insects and small prey.

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Photo Credits:  Minnesota Zoo

Sometimes called the slowest animals on earth, Sloths live high in the rain forest canopy of Central America and northern South America.  Their slow movements allow them to conserve energy and avoid detection from predators like Harpy Eagles and Jaguars.  Sloths sleep, eat, mate, and give birth hanging upside down in trees. They are also excellent swimmers.


Baby Sloth Hangs Out with Mom at Belfast Zoo

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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.

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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:

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