April 25, 2017 12:14 PM

As we enter spring, we are greeted with beautiful blooms and a zoo baby boom.

One of these seasonal arrivals, which also includes April’s calf and Fiona the hippo, is slow to move, but is quickly skyrocketing in popularity.

On March 17, the Memphis Zoo welcomed a Linné two-toed sloth named Lua, which means moon in Portuguese. The zoo is just starting to show off this darling newborn, who is the first Linné two-toed sloth born at the facility.

“We are very excited about the birth of Lua,” said Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs. “This is a fascinating species and a genetically significant birth. We’re looking forward to this unique opportunity of hand-rearing our little one.”

While Lua is now camera-ready, she isn’t prepared to be put on exhibit yet. Born to sloth parents Marilyn and Sparky, Lua is being hand-reared behind-the-scenes at the zoo.

On the list of Lua’s favorite things are naps, feeding sessions and hugs from her stuffed elephant. This toy is important for the baby sloth’s development; by clinging to the stuffed animal like she would her mother in the wild, Lua is strengthening her limbs. Strong arms and legs are vital for the tree-dwelling lives sloths enjoy.

Keepers at the zoo are giving Lua bottle feedings every two hours — in about a month she will be mature enough to move on to solid foods.

Since sloths are slow to mature, it will be some time before Lua makes her public debut. Those who have fallen for this little sweetie can visit the Memphis Zoo website and its social media pages for updates.

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