Mississippi’s Hattiesburg Zoo has some good news to share.
The park recently welcomed a brand new baby sloth. Maple, a Hoffman’s two-toed sloth, was born in the early morning on June 28 to mom Mo and dad Chewy.
This birth came as a surprise to zookeepers, who didn’t realize that Mo was pregnant. Since sloths are covered in dense coats, love to hang upside down and live a sedentary lifestyle, it can be hard to notice when they are expecting.
“We are thrilled to have this new addition to the Zoo,” Stephen Taylor, Hattiesburg Zoo’s animal care manager, said in a statement. “She has already captured all of our hearts! It is always exciting to have a newborn at the zoo, and who doesn’t love a baby sloth?”
Maple is sure to have a great future of winning hearts. Zookeepers say that the baby sloth is healthy, growing fast and gaining weight. Mom Mo is doing an excellent job caring for her new arrival. Chewy, like a typical sloth dad, is taking more of a backseat to parenting.
Shirking the “lazy” stereotype that follows sloths around, Maple is ahead in her development. She is already trying solid food and reaching for climbing branches. She will likely cling to her mom for two years before fully venturing to 24/7 solo tree climbing.
Once she is old enough, Maple will become an animal ambassador for the zoo, helping to teach children about the importance of protecting wildlife and their habitats.