The newest addition to ZSL London Zoo is an adorable baby two-toed sloth who surprised keepers by being born unexpectedly quickly on Sunday 24th October.
During their morning rounds, zookeepers had arrived early to check on pregnant sloth Marilyn, who was snuggled up peacefully in her den with no baby in sight. When they returned less than an hour later, Marilyn had calmly gone into labour and given birth – at a rate uncharacteristic of the notoriously slow-moving species.
“We knew Marilyn was coming to the end of her pregnancy, so we’ve been keeping a close eye on her, arranging regular ultrasounds with the Zoo’s vet team and checking every day for signs of the new arrival. We looked in on her first thing and there was no baby – and no sign at all that she was in labour,” explains sloth keeper, Marcel McKinley.
“Less than an hour later I spotted something that looked like a tiny arm, tucked into Marilyn’s tummy; I called the rest of the team to confirm my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me, and they arrived just in time to see her turn around in the tree and give us the perfect view of her healthy newborn – who she’d quietly delivered, with no fuss at all, while we’d been chopping up sweet potato for her breakfast. She clearly took the whole thing in her stride.”
Keepers won’t know whether the two-week-old baby, named Terry after one of the Zoo’s longest-serving zookeepers, Terry March, is a boy or a girl until hair DNA is tested.
Visitors to ZSL London Zoo can now see Marilyn and her baby in Rainforest Life, the city’s only living rainforest – a lush, tropical paradise heated to 28°C all year round, which the family shares with titi monkeys, tree anteaters, golden-headed lion monkeys, and red-footed tortoises. Book tickets here.