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Behind the scenes with sloth care

Within the Primate Team, we also care for a non-primate species, Hoffmann’s two-toed sloths. Bonnie will be 20 years old this year, while Nutella will be 5. (The male, Cocoa, is currently in the care of our Ambassador Animals Team.) Both have been living in the building down by the carousel, and due to the cold weather have not been in their outdoor habitat for a few months. Nutella was weighed, and moved to the indoor Brazilian Outpost habitat of the Zoo, here visitors can now visit her daily.

Our sloths get weighed monthly here at the Zoo. We secure a hard crate in the habitat. The crate is similar to ones a cat would travel in. Nutella loves her crate, so the morning after installing it, we will find her sleeping in it. We put the door on it and use a hanging luggage scale to weigh her in the crate, then subtract the weight of the crate. Typically, she is around 11 kilograms, or 23 pounds. Taking care of the sloths is personally my favorite part of the day. In the morning they get hand fed grapes. During this time we do visual checks on them, noting anything abnormal. Where they naturally live-in humid rainforests, we mist our sloths at least three times a day to keep their skin healthy. We also hang lettuce around the habitat for them to forage throughout the day as well as produce. Their produce consists of sweet potato, yellow squash, green beans, and carrots. Bonnie’s favorite is sweet potatoes, while Nutella’s is the lettuce and green beans. A lot of visitors always ask me if they are actually as slow as Flash from “Zootopia.” The answer is no! They can actually move pretty quickly when they want to. At night we see Nutella utilizing and exploring her entire new habitat. Next time you’re in the Children’s Zoo, swing by and say hi to Nutella, but remember don’t bang on the glass. Nutella and the tamarins don’t like that.

(photo by Pam W.)

Pam W.
Keeper II, Primates

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