Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team
Date: January 13, 2023 4:35 pm
ZSL London Zoo have celebrated a slow start to the New Year announcing that the first birth to their animal family in 2023 was a Linnaeus's two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus). Keepers had been eagerly awaiting the birth of the two-toed sloth infant since it was first discovered by the vet team on an ultrasound.
They were excited to start the new year by discovering two big brown eyes peeking through mother, Marilyn's fur.
While Marilyn has now revealed her baby its gender will remain a mystery for a little longer. This needs to be confirmed through a test of the babies DNA. This will be done using a hair sample.
London Zoo sloth keeper Veronica Heldt said: “Having arranged regular ultrasounds with the Zoo’s vet team we knew Marilyn was coming to the end of her pregnancy, so we’ve been checking every day for any sign of the new arrival; we were delighted to finally spot a tiny baby exactly where it should be, clinging onto Marilyn’s tummy, as she curled up in her favourite tree.
“We’ve nick-named the little one Nova, which means ‘new’ in Latin, as we couldn’t have asked for a better start to the new year.”
It may be an uncomfortable few months for mother Marilyn as Nova has been born with the characteristic claws of a sloth which help them to grab on in the trees. These will grow to be four inches long before the youngster will branch out on its own.
Veronica added: “Sloth babies are very strong when they’re born and immediately find a comfy spot, hugging mum, which they won’t leave entirely until around 12-months-old. This enables them to build up the valuable muscles needed to spend life slowly swinging from tree to tree.”
Nova and Marilyn have spent the last week tucked away out of view but they have now joined father, Leander in the Rainforest Life habitat at the famous conservation zoo. The tropical habitat is shared with titi monkeys, golden-headed lion monkeys and red-footed tortoises.
While they may not have a massive neck sloths have a very unusual vertebrae. Almost all mammals have seven vertebrae regardless of the length of their neck. Depending on the species sloths will have between eight and ten vertebrae.
Image: ZSL London Zoo
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