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.
“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.