A baby Linné’s two-toed sloth was recently born at the Memphis Zoo, and has a handful of special friends – the Zoo’s animal care staff and a stuffed elephant. “Lua” (loo-ah), a girl, was born on March 17, 2017 to parents “Marilyn” and “Sparky.” Lua means “moon” in Portuguese.
This was the first successful Linné two-toed sloth birth at the Memphis Zoo. Marilyn, Lua’s mother, has birthed other infants in previous years that did not survive infancy, so the decision was made that Lua would be hand-reared.
“We are very excited about the birth of Lua,” said Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs. “This is a fascinating species and a genetically significant birth. We’re looking forward to this unique opportunity of hand-rearing our little one.”
When staff is not holding the infant, she clings to a stuffed elephant, which strengthens her limbs. This mimics the same behavior she would use with her mother. Sloths are arboreal, meaning tree-dwelling, and spend most of their time upside down.
Baby Lua is currently not eating solid foods; instead, she’s being bottle-fed every two hours by a member of the Memphis Zoo staff. Sloths are slow growing animals, and as such, Lua will be bottle-fed for the next month. Staff will hand-rear her for the next year.