ZSL London Zoo has welcomed an adorable new arrival – a baby two-toed sloth.
Born mid February, after almost a year-long pregnancy, keepers finally spotted the newborn being cradled by mum Marilyn while on their morning rounds.
ZSL sloth keeper Steve Goodwin said: “We saw two big brown eyes peering out through mum’s fur and on closer inspection we were delighted to see a healthy-looking youngster tucked into her tummy.
“Sloths have a long gestation period so the infants are already physically well-developed when they’re born. Incredibly, this means they are able to eat solid food right away. However, juveniles tend to stay with their mother for around 12 months before leaving their side – they’re a very ‘clingy’ species in general; to trees and to their mum.
Keepers won’t know whether the youngster – who they’ve nicknamed Lento, which means ‘slow’ in Spanish – is male or female until it is scanned by vets as there aren’t many obvious external differences.
Native to South America, sloths are nocturnal creatures and although notoriously slow, they are impressive climbers. Their claws can grow up four inches in length, helping them to move from tree to tree. The youngster will have plenty of practice, holding on to its mum, which will enable the infant to build up the valuable muscles needed to climb easily through the tree-top branches of its Rainforest Life home.
To view footage of the adorable baby sloth with mother Marilyn click here
For more information on visiting on visiting ZSL London Zoo go to www.zsl.org