Advent baby sloth in the Palm House January 31, 2020
We could even write a soap opera on the story of our regularly reproducing sloths. After all, the mother of our current baby, Lili (nicknamed Squirrel) was herself born in Budapest, almost 11 years ago. In fact, her mum, the grandmother of the current baby, the 26-year-old Banya may also be seen in our Zoo. Otherwise, this one is already Lili's fifth baby. Her earlier grow-up offspring were moved to other Zoos, from Szeged to Paris. We do not even know the sex of the current baby and so we have not given a name to it. Besides, it is not uncommon that sloths give birth to their offspring around Advent: one baby was born on December 21 2015 and another on 24 December in 2012. Anyway, the latter was given the name Natal, which - for obvious reasons - not only refers to the birth but also to Christmas. Otherwise, Natal has been living in Jászberény Zoo since2014.
Our sloths are on display in the Palm House, and in two different locations within the Palm House. Six of the total of nine specimens are accommodated in the north-east side house; however, three animals are housed in a separate location, roughly in the middle of the central hall. One of these three animals is Lili, the female; another is Zippo, the father, who came from Frankfurt Zoo in 2012 as young blood (in exchange for our former male, Alf, Lili's father), and the third is, of course, a few days old baby, constantly clinging to its mother's belly.
The extent to which the baby may be seen also depends on Lili's the mother's location and pose. But, with a little luck, you can see the arms of a baby cuddling its mother, or even the entire baby. The best chance for it is usually right after the 10 a.m. opening of the Orangery, at the Palm House breakfast, because sloths are fed around this time, which, of course, makes the animals move.
Of the six species of sloths, we present Linnaeus's two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus) in our Zoo. This species lives in the northern half of South America, mostly in the rainforests surrounding the Amazon and Orinoco rivers. Its proverbial slowness is not related to laziness, but its relatively slow metabolism, and that by crawling slowly among the foliage it tries to remain undetected by predators such as the jaguar, ocelot and certain birds of prey.