From Ken Howell: Curator of Rain Forest exhibits
Earlier in September, during the daily check-up of our two-toed sloths, we found that Rose had given birth to an infant. The infant, approximately 8 inches long at birth, was born fully haired and already has its trademark claws. The baby sloth is actively clinging and crawling about on its mom, and looks strong and healthy.
This birth of a baby sloth, the first for the Aquarium, was certainly a ‘hoped for’ event but wasn’t planned. Despite the fact that the two-toed sloth is fairly common, many of its most basic life history facts are still a mystery. The discrepancy is due to the fact that actual mating is rarely observed.
Female two-toed sloths give birth after a reported gestation period of 7-10 months (probably closer to 10 months). Within a week or so, the youngster will begin crawling about on the mother and as time goes on will begin exploring its immediate surroundings and begin eating solid foods. The young sloth will remain very close to its mother for almost a year before becoming completely independent from her.
Rose and her new infant are free roaming in the Rainforest, and while we cannot guarantee they will be visible during everyone’s visit, there is a good chance that one of our three adult sloths will be in a location that is easy to see. We hope that the birth of this baby will increase awareness and interest in this group of most unusual mammals. Check back for updates!