New baby sloth at ZSL London Zoo
New arrivals don't come much cuter than Lento, the adorable new sloth born at ZSL London Zoo last month.
Born on Monday 12 February after almost a year-long pregnancy, eager keepers finally spotted the newborn two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus) being cradled by mum 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."
Lento, which means 'slow' in Spanish, was born with the two-toed sloth’s characteristically impressive claws, which will grow up to four inches in length and also help when the youngster is ready to move from tree to tree on its own.
“Marilyn is doing an excellent job as a mum,” says Steve. “The baby is growing fast and is very inquisitive – we’ve spotted some brave attempts to clamber over mum’s head, using her as a climbing frame and grabbing at the trees!”
The nocturnal mammals, native to South America, may be notoriously slow but they are impressive climbers - holding on to its mum will enable the infant to build up the valuable muscles needed to climb easily through the tree-top branches of its Rainforest Life home at ZSL London Zoo.
This story is all part of #SomethingsHatching Easter campaign, where you can find out about other exciting new arrivals, openings and launches at top UK attractions! If you want to find some of your other favourite zoo animals or learn more about the other great zoos in the UK, view our other posts.