This is the fifth sloth born at the Ellen Trout Zoo to this set of parents. Young sloths are cared for by the dam (female) although sometimes they are observed on the sire (male). They have been observed to start eating small amounts solid food as early as three days old, picking up and consuming bits that the dam drops on herself while eating. Young have made brief jaunts off of the dam and onto nearby perching as early as a month old. These short excursions may last seconds or a few minutes. We have observed a great deal of variability in the ages at which offspring leave the dam initially for brief periods and extending the duration as they grow and eventually gain independence.
Linne’s two-toed sloths are found in the northern areas of South America where they live in warm and humid tropical and cloud forests. One of only two species of two-toed sloth, they have two toes on the forefeet and three toes on the hind feet. They spend their lives in trees, hanging upside down as they climb through the branches with the use of the elongated, leathery feet and curved claws. They will come down from the trees about once a week to defecate on the ground. This is a most vulnerable time for them as they are not well adapted for ground locomotion and crawl, unable to walk.
Sloths are nocturnal by nature and sleep most of the day. They eat a variety of leaves, fruits, and other vegetation with occasional animal protein. Unlike most mammals, the body temperature of sloths will vary with the environment. They regulate their temperature by moving around the forest canopy for shade or sun as needed.