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Linne’s two-toed sloth born at Stone Zoo

Sloth babyVisitors to Stone Zoo will notice a tiny new furry face with the recent birth of a Linne’s two-toed sloth.

The baby, born June 27, is the offspring of Nero, age 13, and Lunesta, age 15. Visitors can see the baby, whose sex is not yet known, on exhibit with its parents inside Windows to the Wild.

“As with any new baby, we are closely monitoring its health. The baby has been doing well and is bright and active,” said Pete Costello, Assistant Curator of Stone Zoo, adding, “Lunesta is an experienced mom and she has been taking great care of this baby. For the first month, the baby will hold on tightly to its mother.”

Zoo 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. The birth is a result of a recommended breeding and is the fourth offspring for Nero and Lunesta.

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.