Two-toed Sloth Born at National Aquarium

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Staff welcomes third Linne's two-toed sloth to be born at National Aquarium

Baby Linne's two-toed sloth

“We’re thrilled to welcome the new baby to our family and we hope that it will increase awareness and interest in this group of most unusual mammals,” said Ken Howell, Curator of Rain Forest Exhibits at National Aquarium

National Aquarium, Baltimore is proud to welcome a new addition to the Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit – a Linne’s two-toed sloth born in late August. The baby is the first born to Ivy, one of the four sloths in the exhibit, and is the third sloth born at National Aquarium.

During a daily routine checkup, National Aquarium staff observed Ivy carrying a newborn. The baby was born fully haired and with its trademark claws. Staff are keeping close eye on the two and have spotted the baby actively nursing. Upon initial observations, the baby sloth seems strong and healthy, and is actively clinging and crawling about on its mom. Animal care staff suspects the baby will continue to cling to its mother for the first several weeks of life. Sloths can remain dependant on their mothers for up to one year. As time goes on, the young sloth will begin exploring its immediate surroundings and eating solid foods.

Linne’s two-toed sloths are commonly found in South America’s rain forests, where they spend their entire lives in the trees. They are nocturnal by nature, fairly active at night while spending most of the day sleeping. Adult sloths are typically the size of a small dog, approximately 24–30 inches in length and about 12–20 pounds in weight.

Sloths have been an ongoing part of the animal collection at National Aquarium. The two oldest sloths currently living in the rain forest, Syd and Ivy, were acquired in May 2007 from a private captive breeder in South Florida. The other two sloths, Howie and Xeno, were born at National Aquarium in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

“Despite the fact that the two-toed sloth is a fairly common animal, many of its most basic behaviors are still a mystery because they are rarely observed,” commented Ken Howell, Curator of Rain Forest Exhibits at National Aquarium. “We’re thrilled to welcome the new baby to our family and we hope that it will increase awareness and interest in this group of most unusual mammals.”

Ivy and her new infant are free roaming in the Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit and will be particularly good at hiding in the trees for at least a few weeks. Photos of the baby and mother sloth are available on the Aquarium’s WATERblog here: http://nationalaquarium.wordpress.com/

National Aquarium
National Aquarium inspires conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. It champions environmental initiatives by engaging with visitors, volunteers, education groups and schools to actively participate in the preservation of the world’s natural resources and living-systems. National Aquarium, in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD, delivers meaningful experiences through its engaging living collections; our science-based education programs and our hands-on experiences in the field from the Chesapeake Bay to Costa Rica; and partnerships and alliances with like-minded organizations around the world. For more information on National Aquarium, visit http://www.aqua.org.

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Kate Hendrickson
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