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Life in the slow lane: how new sloths are settling in at the Zoo

Life in the slow lane: how new sloths are settling in at the Zoo

Monday 02 January 2023

Life in the slow lane: how new sloths are settling in at the Zoo

Monday 02 January 2023


Durrell’s newest residents have had their first meeting with Islanders this weekend. How are they getting on?

On 20 October, Durrell officially welcomed their newest residents, Rio and Terry, a pair of Linne’s Two-toed sloths. Rio is a 21-year-old male recently moved from Bristol Zoo and Terry is a one-year-old female from London Zoo.

The Zoo has wanted to introduce sloths at Trinity for many years and two suitable individuals have finally become available.

They were kept from the public until recently, to give them time to get used to their new surroundings and to each other.

A Durrell spokesperson said that Rio and Terry were "settling in really well and their first meeting went as we hoped it would. You often see them hanging around together."

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Pictured: Rio (left) and Terry (right). 

The Linne’s Two-toed sloth is a creature with some peculiar habits. They are, famously, the slowest animal on the planet and can climb only six to eight feet per minute.

They are so slow, in fact, that algae and fungi will naturally grow on their fur, which acts as a natural camouflage. They also have one of the slowest digestive rates of any mammal, with it taking up to 30 days for food to pass through them.

Sloths also have unusual bathroom habits. They will only relieve themselves once every five days, and will only do it on the ground. As a result, sloths have been know to lose up to a third of their body weight in one sitting.

They sleep for around 15 hours a day, and due to their naturally low body temperature must spend a great deal of their time basking in the sun.

While they spend most of their time hanging upside down - their organs are specially designed for that purpose - Linne’s sloths are known to enjoy swimming and often descend from the trees to take a dip. 

The spokesperson said: "Sloths come with unique challenges for keepers. They like to be up high in the trees which can make it difficult to check on them.

"They also spend a lot of time sleeping, so we don’t always see them moving a lot in the day."

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Pictured: The newly revamped Cloud Forest enclosure with one of its new tenants in the background. 

Despite their sedentary nature, the keepers have started to notice that the sloths have their own unique personalities and quirks.

Terry likes to perch on the trees at the top of the enclosure and is thought to be a bit cheekier than Rio.

By contrast, Rio is an older gentleman and quite typically like a lot of sloths, spends most of his day sleeping.

The sloths are housed in the revamped Cloud Forest Area of the Zoo, which is also home to the Andean Bears, Bush Dogs and Howler Monkeys, all native to South America.

Pictured: The Sloths are now available to visit.

The sloths are now on display to the public. The best time to catch them, according to Durrell, is first thing and at the end of the day.

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