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Adorable baby two-toed sloth born at ZSL London Zoo

Keepers at ZSL London Zoo welcomed the arrival of a two-toed sloth into the world on Tuesday 30 April.

Born to mum Marilyn after an almost year-long pregnancy, the new-born has been named Elio, a Spanish name which derives from ‘Helios the sun-god’ following the youngster’s sunset arrival.

ZSL sloth keeper Steve Goodwin said: “After Zoo vets performed an ultrasound they were able to confirm the youngster’s arrival was imminent. We kept a watchful eye on Marilyn throughout the day and at 8.45pm saw her baby safely delivered. Sloths are elusive animals, resting in the tops of trees, so to witness such a unique moment is very rare.

“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. The baby is growing fast and is very inquisitive using its nose to sniff around for food.”

Keepers don’t yet know if the youngster is a boy or girl, but the newborn is a valuable addition to its species and once its sex is confirmed, its details will be added to the European Studbook (ESB), part of a coordinated breeding programme for two-toed sloths.

The nocturnal mammals are native to South America, and although notoriously slow, are impressive climbers. The youngster was born with the two-toed sloth’s characteristically impressive claws, which will grow up to four inches in length and help when the youngster is ready to move from tree to tree on its own. Juveniles tend to stay with their mother for around 12 months before leaving their side.

To find out more about visiting the sloths at ZSL London Zoo’s Rainforest Life go to www.zsl.org

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