Rolling Hills Zoo is excited to announce the arrival of Sylvia, the zoo’s first Linne’s two-toed sloth.
Born at Zoo Miami, this female sloth is now 4 years old, and while still young, she will likely be paired with a male in the future on a breeding recommendation.
Sylvia’s new home is next to the cotton-topped tamarins in the rhino barn. She is currently hand feeding well with her keepers and exploring her space. Her favorite spot is sitting on top of her barrel.
“She seemed to enjoy target training but it has to be on her terms,” shared Siarra Abker, RHZ vet tech. “If she is not in the mood to train, then she just gives you a look like ‘will you just go away already’. You also have to have the right snacks to reward her with. She really enjoys sweet potato and pear.”
“If you catch her at the right time, Sylvia can actually be pretty active and moving around, but that time seems to vary from day to day,” added Abker.
The Linne’s two-toed sloth is one of the slowest mammals in the world, spending nearly all of its life hanging upside down in trees with their long curved claws providing a powerful grip around the branches. They also eat, mate, and even give birth while upside down. Even though they are quite clumsy on land and only come down from the trees about once a week to urinate and defecate, sloths are surprisingly good swimmers. In addition to being slow moving, they sleep 15 to 20 hours a day.
Sloths are so sedentary that algae actually grow in their long fur, providing a camouflage to blend into the canopy of the rainforest. Their diet consists of leaves, fruit, blossoms and shoots from trees, with most of their water intake coming from the plants that they eat.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List rates the conservation status of the earth’s six species of sloths as critical, with only 1,500 sloths still left in the wild according to the World Wildlife Fund, making them one of the most endangered mammals on the planet.
Life for these slow-moving creatures is troublesome, with deforestation and degradation of their natural habitat along with hunting and the illegal wildlife trade as prime reasons for their decline. These tree-dwelling mammals rely on the health of tropical rainforests for food, shelter and space.
Rolling Hills Zoo participates in the Linne’s Two-Toed Sloth Species Survival Plan®, which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. SSPs help to ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, most of which are threatened or endangered.
The staff at Rolling Hills Zoo looks forward to introducing Sylvia to the public on their upcoming visit to the zoo.