And YOU can help name it!
Special delivery! A baby two-toed sloth was born at the Virginia Zoo last month, and it's just as cute as you can imagine.
The new parents, Honey and Mervin, welcomed their first baby on Sunday, March 8. Along with being the pair's first offspring, it's also the first baby sloth born at the zoo. Honey and Mervin made the Virginia Zoo their home back in March 2019. They reside in the zoo's World of Reptiles exhibit.
So how is the new family holding up?
“The infant is doing really well, nursing from mom and eating small bites of cooked veggies from its mom and the Keepers,” said the Zoo’s Veterinarian Dr. Colleen Clabbers in a public statement.
Two-toed sloths are some of the animal kingdom's most enigmatic creatures. They weigh between 12 and 16 ounces at birth, and unlike humans and most animals, they come equipped with a full coat of fur, fingernails, and teeth—crazy, right? Sloths are famously known for their extensive sleeping habits, ranging from 15 to 20 hours a day. Babies typically rely on their mothers for the bulk of their care, hugging themselves close to hide away from predators.
This instinctual move is why zoo staff will keep a hands-off approach with the new baby and mother, short of issues that arise in the interim.
"Our keepers are monitoring mom and baby’s behavior closely as they bond and are skilled at identifying subtle changes in the animals," said Dr. Clabbers.
As of right now, no name has been given to the baby sloth, because they want YOU to make the call! The zoo is inviting the public to participate in a charity auction for deciding the animal's name, and the proceeds go to a great cause—the Emergency Operating Fund, which supports the zoo's animals and staff members. The auction runs until April 21 and bids can be placed at bidpal.net/virginiazoo.
While the zoo is closed indefinitely due to COVID-19, they continue to offer free content through their website and social media. You can find out more here.
**All photos courtesy of Virginia Zoo
What do you think of the new baby sloth? Will you visit them once the zoo opens again? Let us know in the comments!