Posts Tagged 'two-toed sloth'

Animal Update – September 7

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Animal transports completed in preparation for Blacktip Reef! 

All of our animals have been moved from Wings in the Water so that renovations can begin on the exhibit space! A tarpon and hogfish were moved to their new home within the Aquarium, the Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit. On Monday, our team moved Zeke, Zoe and Calypso to their temporary home behind-the-scenes in our animal care facility.

Calypso getting ready for the big move on Monday!

Additionallythe lionfish habitat next to Wings in the Water was permanently broken down. Our lionfish were given to the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky. The Sargassum triggerfish, queen angelfish, spotfin butterflyfish and blue tang from this tank can also now be seen in our Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit. 

A staff member carefully cleaning out the lionfish reef tank

For more on our changes in preparation for Blacktip Reef, check out our recent update!

New additions in Maryland: Mountains to the Sea exhibit 

Black sea bass, black drum and winter flounder fish have been added to our Atlantic Shelf gallery.

Stop by our Atlantic Shelf tank to get a good look at our new black sea bass!

We have a new baby! 

We are so proud to welcome a new addition to the Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit – a Linne’s two-toed sloth was born in late August! The baby is the first born to Ivy, one of the four sloths in the exhibit, and is the third sloth born at National Aquarium.

Can you spot the baby sloth? Ivy and her new infant are free roaming the Rain Forest exhibit and will be particularly good at hiding in the trees for at least a few weeks.

To find out more about our newest addition, click here.

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

An unusual sloth sighting

Every morning the Aquarium’s Rainforest staff takes inventory of the animals since most of them have a free range of the habitat each day. It is often a challenge to locate all three of the Rainforest sloths since they hide in the trees. On one particular morning they were conspiring  together on the back wall, which is a very rare sight!

Clockwise they are;  Deb (Aquarium staff), Syd, Ivy, and Howie. Hmm, what were those sloths up to? 

Sloth social behaviors are poorly understood and observations of this sort assist us in developing a greater understanding of sloth biology. We know that they are generally considered solitary animals, but some species of sloths have been seen occupying the same desirable trees and sleep spots in the wild. Often our Rainforest sloths can be seen alone or near just one other, so this sighting was a very interesting observation.

So, why were they? It may be that all three sloths were getting too warm in the treetops and retreated to cooler air.  It is a possibility that it was simply coincidental, and after their nightly dinner exhibit rounds they ended up together by daybreak. It may even mean that the sloths were engaging in another hoped for reproductive event!

Look for Howie’s large and very sharp ‘canine-like’ premolars.  Sloths were at one time called Edentates, or toothless mammals.  Today they are correctly referred to as Xenarthrans (which is why our baby sloth has been named Xeno), a taxonomic group that also includes armadillos and anteaters.  If you look at Ivy’s feet you will notice that the hind foot has three toes/claws and the front foot has two toes/claws.  Two toed sloths are sometimes referred to as two-fingered sloths for this reason.

New addition to the sloth family

We are thrilled to welcome the newest addition to the Upland Tropical Rain Forest – a two-toed sloth born in late February.

While escorting a sleepover group through the Upland Tropical Rain Forest, a member of the Aquarium’s education team noticed the new addition. The next day it was confirmed that Rose, one of three adult sloths living in the exhibit, had given birth to her second infant. The newborn joins its older brother, Howie, who was the first sloth born at the National Aquarium in September 2008.

The new baby has been clinging to its mother, and aquarists suspect it will remain that way for several weeks. At this time the sex of the baby is undetermined. At birth it was approximately 8 inches long and fully haired with its trademark claws. As time goes on, the young sloth will begin exploring its immediate surroundings and eating solid foods. Sloths can remain dependent on their mothers for up to one year. Our animal care staff will respect the natural process and allow Rose to care for her baby.

Continue reading ‘New addition to the sloth family’

From the Curator: A baby in the Rain Forest!

From Ken Howell: Curator of Rain Forest exhibits

We are very excited to announce a new addition to our Upland Tropical  Rain Forest exhibit!

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.

Continue reading ‘From the Curator: A baby in the Rain Forest!’


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