2023’s first newborn at London Zoo is a healthy two-toed sloth

On New Year’s Day, London Zoo got a new resident. Little Nova was born to sloth couple Marilyn and Leander, who live in the Zoo’s ‘Rainforest Life’ enclosure. It’s London’s only living rainforest and is kept at a balmy 28C to ensure that the sloth family, alongside titi monkeys, golden-headed lion monkeys and red-footed tortoises, continues to keep snug and thrive. 

Two-toed sloths gestate in the mother’s stomach for around 11 months and emerge physically well developed: eating solid food and gripping on to their mothers with their characteristic long claws. 

We won’t know the sex of the baby until hair DNA is analysed by vets, a difficult task as Nova will be clinging on to Marilyn’s stomach until reaching nearly a year old. Baby sloths do this to help build their muscles, ready to spend the rest of their lives swinging from tree to tree, with claws which also grow up to four inches to help them ‘branch out’. 

Sloths are particularly vulnerable to climate change as they regulate their own body temperature. Nova’s birth is therefore all the more reason to celebrate with zookeeper Ronnie stating that ‘every birth is a conservation success and a vital part of ZSL’s work preserving and protecting wildlife’. 

You can support the ZSL, London Zoo’s conservation charity, in continuing its work to protect animals and urge world leaders to act on climate change by swinging by and visiting Nova and 14,000 other animals this January.

Find other great ways to spend your weekend here. 

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