NORFOLK, Va. - There's no need to hurry to see the Virginia Zoo's newest cutie!
The Zoo welcomed a baby two-toed sloth to its collection of animals on April 17. The baby is the second offspring for Mom Honey and Dad Mervin.
Sloths are only 12-16 oz when they're born, but Zoo officials say they're born mobile from the time of birth and are able to cling to their mothers' undersides with their long nails. When they're born, they're covered in fur, with fully developed teeth and with their eyes open.
“You can’t help but swoon over a baby sloth,” said Greg Bockheim, executive director of the Virginia Zoo. “We will not know for some time if the newborn is a girl or boy since newborns tend to cling to their moms to stay out of view of potential predators but we are excited for visitors to see it on exhibit with the parents."
The new baby and its parents are in their exhibit, along with the Titi monkeys, in the Conservatory at the World of Reptiles.
Sloths sleep most of the day and are more active at night. The baby will stay with its mother for 11-12 months but will start climbing off when it's about one month old in order to explore its surroundings.
Zoo Keepers haven't yet determined the baby's gender because they will not interfere with the mom and baby while they bond these first few weeks.
The Zoo's firstborn sloth, named Trey, was born in March 2020. Her naming rights were auctioned off for more than $3,000, which benefited the Zoo's Emergency Operating Fund while it was closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This time, anyone can submit a name suggestion for the new baby sloth for just $5! Zoo Keepers will narrow down the names, and the sloth family will choose the winner.
You can submit gender-neutral name suggestions online here from May 2-7. The Zoo will reveal the winning name via social media on May 16. Proceeds will benefit the Zoo's Act for Wildlife Fund, which benefits conservation efforts around the world.