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Meet Franklin Park Zoo's new sloth baby

The staff at Franklin Park Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a Linne’s two-toed sloth. The baby, born August 12, is the offspring of Nero, age 8, and Lunesta, age 10. The baby can be seen on exhibit with its mother Lunesta in the Little Critters building within the Children’s Zoo. The baby, whose sex is not yet known, underwent its first medical examination on August 14 and appears healthy, bright and alert.

“We are thrilled to share the news of this exciting birth. As with any baby, we are closely monitoring the infant’s health, but so far the baby is doing well and holding on tightly to its mother,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO, who added, “People are often fascinated by these unusual creatures and we’re delighted that so many will have the unique opportunity to watch this baby grow up.”

New England participates in the Linne’s Two-Toed Sloth Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs are designed to maintain genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species.

Linne’s two-toed sloths are large, furry mammals that live in trees and are found in the tropical forests of South America. They spend almost their whole lives dangling upside-down from branches that they hold on to with all four clawed feet. While these animals move really well through the branches, once they are on the ground they are very slow and vulnerable to predators as they are not built for walking.

Sloths eat mainly a vegetarian diet of leaves and shoots, and they spend roughly 15 hours a day sleeping. Although they live in trees, sloths are not related to monkeys; rather, their closest relatives are the anteater and the armadillo.

Learn more about sloths in Franklin Park Zoo's Animals section.

Photos: Chris Bartos, Bridget Collins-Lyman, Katelyn Deaton and Sarah Woodruff
Video: Sarah Woodruff