Animals

By Laura Dale 


Three’s a crowd for these two-toed sloths as a tiny baby joined their family.

The super-sweet sloth was born at Memphis Zoo in Tennessee on March 17.

Pic by Memphis Zoo/Caters News Agency

She was christened Lua, which translates as ‘moon’ in Portuguese.

Staff at the zoo are hand-rearing little Lua for a year, after her mum Marilyn tragically lost other babies in their infancy.

They are waiting until she is older before allowing the public to see her.

However, cute photos of Lua were released, showing the baby sloth enjoying some milk and hugging a toy elephant.

Pic by Memphis Zoo/Caters News Agency

But her cuddly best friend is not just for comfort. When staff are not holding her, Lua clings to the elephant to build her strength, mimicking behaviour she would use with her mother.

In the wild, sloths spend most of their time hanging upside down from trees.

Pic by Memphis Zoo/Caters News Agency

Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programmes, said: “We are very excited about the birth of Lua.

“This is a fascinating species and a genetically significant birth.

“We’re looking forward to this unique opportunity of hand-rearing our little one.”

Pic by Memphis Zoo/Caters News Agency

The Memphis Zoo currently has three Linné’s two-toed sloths. Marilyn and Sparky, Lua’s parents, both arrived at the Zoo in December 2003. Both adults were wild-caught animals, making Lua a genetically valuable animal.

Pic by Memphis Zoo/Caters News Agency

Linné’s, or Southern, two-toed sloths have been housed at the Memphis Zoo since 1945.

People can learn more about Lua by visiting memphiszoo.org/sloth or the zoo’s social media channels.