BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A baby sloth was born at the Brevard Zoo for the first time in two years.
The zoo says the tiny Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth was born on April 8 to 15-year-old mother Sammy and 18-year-old father Dustin. This is the third sloth baby in the zoo’s history.
"The baby, which has not yet been named or sexed, is tightly clung to Sammy’s underside. Both mother and child appear to be thriving," the zoo said in a press release.
During the pregnancy, zookeepers used "positive reinforcement techniques to train Sammy to stay still for ultrasound exams, enabling veterinarians to monitor the development of the fetus during the 10- month gestation period."
Linnaeus’s two-toed sloths are native to the rainforests of northern South America. In their natural range, sloths help disperse native plants by swallowing seeds in one location and defecating them elsewhere, according to the zoo.
Although sloths are quite adorable to look at, experts say they should not be kept as pets.
"Sloths are high-maintenance animals that need professional care, and they don’t belong in the home," said Michelle Smurl, the Zoo’s director of animal programs. "They have long claws and sharp teeth that they won’t hesitate to use if they’re scared or stressed. If you can’t make the trip down to South America, the best way to get your sloth fix is to visit your local accredited animal care facility."