St. Augustine Alligator Farm Is Excited To Welcome Their Newest Arrival: A Baby Sloth
February 12, 2022
Grizzly and Teddy, St. Augustine Alligator Farm’s resident Hoffmann’s two-toed sloths, have proved once again that age is just a number. On the morning of February 8th, 2022, they welcomed their fourth offspring. At 37, Grizzly is one of the oldest sloths to give birth and 47-year-old-male Teddy is one of the oldest sloths ever recorded. While talking about the surprise of the sloths having a baby at their age; David Drysdale, St. Augustine Alligator Farm’s owner, reflected that they have made their home in St. Augustine which is also home to the Fountain of Youth.
Keepers were alerted to the presence of the newborn when they heard a cry coming from inside the heated artificial tree at the center of the habitat that was created for the sloths. The 387g (approximately 0.85 pound) baby had just arrived. Grizzly and her baby were given time to bond and for the baby to dry off before the initial weight was taken. Mother and newborn will share a bit more time to spend on maternity leave in private quarters, but Teddy remains in their habitat to for any guests who are coming into the zoo to convey their good wishes in these early days. The zoo realizes that everyone is anxious to see the baby and since babies will typically stay with mom for the first year, visitors have plenty of time to plan a visit to wish the family well.
St, Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park began the discussion about bringing in sloths in 2017. Much of the Alligator Farm’s decision to bring in any new species is driven by the desire to further contribute to conservation. Although Hoffmann’s two-toed sloths are considered to be animals of least concern, we thought that their appeal would be a great way to engage guests in conversation about species of concern in the Central and South American rainforests and the rainforest itself. In doing research prior to making the final decision, we reached out to colleagues at other zoos to see what their experience working with sloths had been. When we spoke to Phil Hillary, the Director of Animal Programs at Busch Gardens Tampa, about the rainforest habitat that was being planned, he said Busch Gardens had a pair that would be perfect for the role. In December 2018, Sarah Patterson, Curator of Birds and Mammals, and Trevor Mia, Curator of Education, went to Busch Gardens Tampa to meet Teddy and Grizzly and agreed that St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park would be a great home for them to live out their Golden Years.
Although sloths are typically solitary animals, Teddy and Grizzly were brought together as a breeding pair at Busch Gardens and made the choice to stay together. They had three offspring together there and were thought to be done raising young. Their primary caretakers from Busch Gardens delivered Teddy and Grizzly to St. Augustine Alligator Farm in March 2019. Their arrival was met with much excitement from staff and community alike.
On Friday, August 16, 2019 they moved into their new habitat which they share with habitat with yellow footed tortoises and sunbitterns. Over the last couple of years, they have been popular additions as guests had an opportunity to book a rainforest encounter where they could enter the exhibit with an educator to learn more about our dynamic rainforest species while offering a snack to the sloths. Because sloths are nocturnal, these experiences have remained limited to allow Teddy and Grizzly to get their beauty rest and spend quality time together. For over 125 years, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park has been committed to continuous improvement and growth to advance the welfare of our animals and those in the wild. We look forward to continuing this trend into the future.