'Experienced' Sloth Mom Lunesta Gives Birth to Her Fifth Baby at New England Zoo
According to a release from the New England zoo, the facility's Linne's two-toed sloth named Lunesta gave birth to her fifth baby with mate Nero on July 31. The new arrival is doing well, thanks in large part to their talented mom.
"Lunesta is an experienced mom who is doing everything she should to care for the baby," Pete Costello, an assistant curator at Stone Zoo, said in a statement. "People are always fascinated by the sloths, and we're really excited for our guests to watch the baby grow and become more mobile once it's big enough to explore the habitat. It will stay pretty closely attached to mom for the first few months."
Along with keeping a firm grip on her new kid, Lunesta is also nursing the newborn. The Linne's Two-Toed Sloth Species Survival Plan (SSP) — a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) — paired the sloth mom with Nero. The breeding recommendation has been fruitful and boosts the wild sloth population since it helps maintain the species' genetic diversity.
The Linne's two-toed sloth is native to the tropical forests of South America. They survive on a primarily vegetarian diet and sleep up to 15 hours a day. Like other sloths, this animal spends almost all its life in the trees where it can expertly move through and hang in the branches. While a sloth may remind some of a monkey, the sloth's closest relatives are anteaters and armadillos, per the Stone Zoo.