Montgomery Zoo to debut Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloth
MONTGOMERY ZOO (Montgomery, AL): The Montgomery Zoo is excited to announce the public debut of a Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloth on August 11! Odysseus, 4-years-old, came to the Montgomery Zoo from Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky.
Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloths are named after German naturalist Karl Hoffman (1823-1859). Their native habitats are in Central and South American countries Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.
This species has two toes on their forefeet that end with claws. Their back feet have three clawed toes. The sloths usually have tan to light brown shaggy fur. These sloths can sometimes appear green from algae collecting in their fur.
Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloths move at about .46 foot-per-second but can move 50% faster when excited. While sloths might appear slow due to laziness, their lack of speed is due to surviving on a low energy diet of leaves. Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloths eat leaves, buds, tender twigs, young plant shoots, fruits, and flowers.
The Montgomery Zoo Animal Care Team decided to bring in a sloth because this species has important educational value due to its unique role and natural history in its native ecosystem. In addition, this species has important captive conservation value because husbandry and breeding is still difficult in zoos. This animal is captive born, thus reducing collection pressure on native populations and offering the Montgomery Zoo staff and visitors a unique learning experience from this species.
“Sloth are a species that both keepers and the public loves – so when there were some looking for new homes from other zoos, we thought them to be the perfect choice,” Animal Care Manager Andi Clason said.
For now Odysseus’ temporary home is the exhibit by the Jaguars. Odysseus will eventually move to the Ring-tailed Lemurs current exhibit. The Lemurs themselves are moving to Monkey Island and their current habitat next to the Marmosets will be open for the sloth.
Odysseus is described as not a morning sloth, but is curious when he wakes up.
Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloths are classified as least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). There are no major threats to the species, but habitat degradation and fragmentation are affecting some populations in Central America and Colombia.
“Sloth are a species that the majority of people love, but may not be aware that their native habitat it quickly disappearing due to deforestation,” Animal Care Manager Andi Clason said. “By bringing this new species into the Montgomery Zoo family, we look forward to continuing the conversation about habitat conservation for species all over the globe.”
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