Watch: Fota Wildlife announces arrival of its first baby sloth

The baby was born to mother Talyta and father Matheo after a gestation of six months.
Watch: Fota Wildlife announces arrival of its first baby sloth

The first-ever baby sloth has been born at Fota Wildlife. Picture: Michael O'Sullivan /OSM PHOTO.

Fota Wildlife Park has announced the arrival of the first-ever Linné’s two-toed sloth to be born in the Wildlife Park.

The baby, whose gender is still unknown, was born on April 30 to mother Talyta and father Matheo after a gestation of six months.

The public can view the baby sloth in the Tropical House, which recently reopened to the public after closure due to the Covid pandemic.

Fota Wildlife Park is calling on the public to help name the baby sloth via the blog, www.fotawildlife.ie/news, and to be in with a chance to win a conservation annual pass.

Matheo, who is four and a half years old, was transferred from Wilhelma Zoo, Stuttgart in Germany to Fota Wildlife Park back in 2019 and mother Talyta, who is three years old, came from Papiliorama Swiss Tropical Gardens to Fota Wildlife Park in November 2020.

Lead Ranger, Julien Fonteneau said that Fota Wildlife Park is “delighted” to announce the birth of a baby sloth.

“Not only does the Wildlife Park have great success breeding the fastest land animal and the tallest land animal in the world, and now also with the world’s slowest moving animal, the sloth.

"Due to the nocturnal nature of the sloth, getting a glimpse of the baby can be elusive. Young sloths will cling to their mother’s belly for approximately five weeks until they have the strength to move on their own.

The little one is already pulling at leaves and other foods we give to the adults, although not leaving the mother's safety on its own yet.

Sloths are native to South America and eat, sleep, mate, and give birth from their upside-down position high among the branches. The only time sloths descend to the forest floor is to go to the toilet, which they do about once a week.

They are the only mammals whose hair grows in the opposite direction from the hair of other mammals. To accommodate their upside-down lifestyle, the hair parts in the middle of the belly and grows upward towards the back. The hair on the face points upward, allowing water to run off during rainstorms.

Their diet primarily consists of various leaves, stems, buds, and a selection of fruit but insects are also consumed.

Predators such as jaguars and ocelots, harpy eagles, and anacondas pose a threat to sloths in their native habitats and they use their sharp claws and teeth to defend themselves.

The Tropical House at Fota Wildlife Park is open daily from 11 am to 5 pm and the park is open from 9.30 am to 6 pm last entry is at 4.30 pm.

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