12:05 PM 1st February 2019
Sloth Sensation Arrives In Sheffield
The Tropical Butterfly House in Sheffield has taken delivery of their first ever sloth where he has been receiving a warm, ‘tropical’ welcome by staff and visitors alike as he settles in to his new home, just in time to help them celebrate their 25th anniversary in March 2019.
The only sloth local to South Yorkshire, he was born in Amsterdam and has been living in Hamerton Zoo, Cambridgeshire for the last 18 years where he was never named but simply referred to as Mr Sloth.
At 29 years old, this male Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth lives in the heights of the Butterfly House where his neighbours include butterflies, lorikeets and turtles.
A sloth’s low energy diet means they conserve energy by moving very slowly and deliberately and can snooze for up to 15 hours a day - but don’t worry he will be as active at night as during the day so it is easy for visitors to see him.
In the wild, sloths only come down from the trees to poo twice a month, however Mr Sloth is predicted to poo twice a week due to his fuller diet, including his favourite leaves and parsnips.
Sloths are native to South America and are unique in the animal world for spending most of their time upside down. They are solitary creatures and can live up to 50 years in captivity and although listed as ‘least concern’ there is a decrease in numbers in the wild, mainly down to the destruction of their natural habitat.
Animal team leader, Abigail Carter, was part of the team who undertook the two-hour journey to bring him to the park and oversees his settling in says:
“Like the cliché says, our sloth slept all the way to his new home! Having him here at the wildlife park is such a fantastic move forward for us and I have no doubt he will be very popular. It not only gives us the chance to educate the public on these incredible animals the opportunity to highlight the effects of deforestation to sloths and other animals around the world. I always find people feel more connected and more likely to listen about conservation issues when they can experience the animals in person.”
Andrew Reeve, wildlife park manager, talks about the slow journey of this highly anticipated arrival:
“I put our name on the waiting list seven years ago when I took over as park manager. It has been a long, slow process and prior to his arrival we’ve trained our staff on how to care for him and prepare his new habitat. He will however continue to surprise us as we learn more about his behaviour and daily routines. We’re delighted that due to the dedication and perseverance of the animal team, our newest arrival will bring joy to all our visitors.”
Visitors can see ‘Mr Sloth’ moving around the Butterfly House, look out for a large black nose like a Labrador and his brown fur which feels like a wig, and get involved with the Wildlife Park's naming competition which will feature over their social media channels.