Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo
Cutest surprise ever! You might have heard stories about women not realizing they're pregnant, and apparently, sloths can experience this, too.
On November 17, Sylvia the sloth gave birth to a yet-to-be-named baby Linnaeus two-toed sloth at the Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo in New Braunfels, Texas. The father's name is Sid. And though we aren't really sure if Sylvia knew she was pregnant or not, the zoo's staff has revealed that they, at least, were completely caught off guard by the surprise birth. (More about that in a second.)
But first: Just look at these photos. It doesn't get any cuter!
Now, how is it possible that this baby sloth was a surprise to the staff members at the zoo? "Due to the sedentary lifestyle of the sloth— who famously sleeps up to 18 hours a day— along with their thick, wiry fur, it is exceedingly difficult to see outward signs of pregnancy," the zoo's press release states.
The release says that baby sloths nurse for one month before being introduced to solid foods. When they're completely weaned, "they will stay tightly wrapped against the mother from six months up to two years." Aw! Although Sylvia might not be getting much alone time in the next few years, she does get to have an cuddly baby sloth attached to her. Sounds pretty cozy!
The staff members at the zoo are paying close attention to the baby sloth, including weighing it each day to make sure it's healthy. The release states that, "So far, Sylvia is a great parent and has fully embraced motherhood." Not bad for a first-time mom with a surprise pregnancy!
Apparently, sloths breeding in captivity isn't rare, but "successful reproduction it is not as common as hoped for." The release says that many places across the world have trouble with breeding sloths.
But what's the new sloth's name?
In case you're concerned about why this precious baby doesn't have a name, it's because the zoo is letting the public decide, and you can submit your suggestion! All you have to do is go to this Facebook post and comment the moniker you want for the newborn. The comment with the most number of likes will be the winner, and the winning commenter gets four free admission tickets. In other words, you can name the baby and go see it in real life! Some of the suggestions so far are Snooze, Slothvester Stallone, and Slothy McSlothface.
Although Fiona the hippo is the cutest baby animal of 2017, and possibly until the end of time, this sloth is also adorable.
Congrats to new sloth parents Sylvia and Sid!