Last spring, one of our adult female sloths, Rose, unexpectedly passed away, leaving her 8-week-old baby orphaned. We were all saddened by the loss of Rose, and very worried that baby Xeno had lost his mother.
At the Aquarium, we typically respect the natural process of life by letting mothers care for their babies as much as possible. Because young sloths remain dependent on their mothers for food and comfort during their first year of life, our animal care staff knew that Xeno was going to need extra special care in order to grow into a successful adult sloth.
For the past several months, the Rain Forest staff and Animal Care team have come together to give little Xeno the best chance of survival, which meant round-the-clock care that included a special diet, daily veterinary checkups and even some coddling, because baby sloths physically cling to their mothers.
Words alone can’t describe how much love and care was put into helping Xeno grow! The video below shares our amazing story of raising Xeno:
Xeno is now 7 months old and is continuing to develop into a strong and healthy sloth. Our staff is no longer handling Xeno. He is currently living in a new enclosure in the Aquarium’s Rain Forest that will help introduce him to the environment. We are cautiously optimistic that he will soon join our other two-toed sloths as a permanent resident in our Upland Tropical Rain Forest!
The costs of food, medicine and a knowledgeable staff to care for more than 16,000 animals add up quickly. You can help us continue to provide the best-quality care for animals like Xeno. » Donate now
A baby boom has hit our DC venue! If you haven’t visited our gem in the Nation’s Capital, now is a great time to bring your kids to meet our kids. Let’s take a look at some of our adorable DC residents.
Four young American alligators are currently residing in the Everglades National Park Exhibit. These alligators are a little over a year old and just about a foot and half long. They will eventually grow to 10-14 feet. They are a part of the Aquarium’s head start program and will eventually be returned to their native habitat. They are being fed, conditioned, and grown to a size where they can remain viable and thrive when released back into their natural surroundings.
The Amazon River habitat is home to a two-year old polka dot stingray pup. Most stingrays are found in saltwater but this specie is one of several freshwater stingrays found in South America. When born, the pups are just 3-4 inches in diameter! He is now 10 inches big.
Two baby loggerhead sea turtles can be found swimming about the Grey’s Reef exhibit. As hatchlings they are typically about 2 inches long and weigh less than an ounce. These young turtles are 3 months old and about six inches long. They are also a part of our head start program that is helping to rebuild sea turtle populations, and will be released back to the ocean in about 2 years. Adult loggerheads can reach 500 lbs!
There are also plenty of young fish swimming about the Aquarium exhibits. The Atlantic Patch Reef is home to a variety of interesting babies like the foureye butterflyfish, the trunkfish, and the scrawled cowfish pictured below. He is just over an inch but will grow to 15 inches as an adult.
As you can see, the National Aquarium, DC is booming with young life. Which baby is your favorite?