A two-toed sloth that was recently born in an Austrian zoo has warmed the hearts of visitors who saw it wrapped around its mother for the first time ever.
Tiergarten Schonbrunn Zoo located in the Austrian capital Vienna is now home to three sloths after mother Alberta and father Einstein welcomed their young one on 3rd June 2021.
Visitors were able to observe the little one’s development, despite the fact that it will cling to the hair of its mother’s back or stomach and hide there for the first six months.
The zoo said the pup’s gender has not been identified yet since it is still closely attached to its mother.
Zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck told Newsflash: “The news of the offspring surely pleased many sloth fans. The last young sloth, Pauline, was unfortunately never seen by our visitors due to COVID-19 measures. In the meantime, Pauline has moved to Loro Parque (in Tenerife) as part of the European Studbook (ESB) and has adjusted there.”
The two-toed sloths, which are among the visitors’ favourites, are native to Central and South America and spend most of their lives hanging upside down from trees, which is exactly how females give birth to their young as well.
Since these predominantly nocturnal animals are not able to walk, they pull hand-over-hand to move around, which is at an extremely slow rate, but in contrast to three-toed sloths’ climbing behavior, the two-toed sloths prefer to descend head first.
They primarily feed on leaves, but also on shoots, fruits, nuts, berries, bark, some native flowers, and even some small vertebrates, in addition to some algae that grow on their fur that they eat when encountering food deficit.
According to the zoo, male sloths such as the young one’s father Einstein are usually lazier than females and spend most of their days eating, sleeping and hanging around.
Regarding the little one and its mother, district manager Petra Stefan said the pup will be suckled for half a year. The mother sometimes carries the little one to the food bowl on her stomach where it nibbles on vegetables such as celery and lettuce.”
In collaboration with photographer Daniel Zupanc, Tiergarten Schonbrunn Zoo made a 2022 Family Planner named ‘Schonbrunn Animal Babies’ which shows a different animal each month.
People unable to visit the zoo, but interested to see the young two-toed sloth can find it in the February section of the planner.
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Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: James King, Agency: Newsflash
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