When London introduced Marilyn and Leander they thought it would be the beginning of a ten year love affair. Turns out Marilyn and Leander had other plans and as a result zookeepers at London Zoo are now caring for a surprise sloth baby.
While other zoos have reported it taking ten years for sloths to breed this pair got together after just 6 months. Now after an 11 month gestation the baby has emerged causing much delight.
Leander arrived from Germany at the end of 2012 to become a mate for Marilyn. Keepers had many attempts at getting the pair to mate but believed they had been unsuccessful.
The sloth’s keeper, Tegan McPhail said ‘“To say we were surprised when Marilyn fell pregnant is something of an understatement – we weren’t aware that she’d even been near the male.’
Under the cover of darkness though it would appear sloths are quite interesting animals. Away from the gaze of keepers Marilyn and Leander did their duty.
McPhail shared that ‘it appears that it was all an act on their behalf and our two very sneaky sloths were getting amorous behind our backs!’
The birth is quite exciting as it is ‘the first sloth to be born at ZSL London Zoo’ said McPhail.
Marilyn is a very proud mom. In the zoo’s Amazonian rainforest she shows off her bundle of joy to visitors.
Keepers will have to wait for a vet scan to discover whether the baby is a male or a female. Sloths show no differences externally if they are male or female.
The baby will one day move on to another zoo to become part of the breeding program for the species.
Until that time he can be seen in London Zoo’s rainforest exhibit or in the video below.
Photo Credit-London Zoo