Hattiesburg Zoo welcomes first sloth born in captivity in MS

Hattiesburg Zoo welcomes first sloth born in captivity in MS
Baby sloth born at the Hattiesburg Zoo/Photo credit: WDAM
Baby sloth born at the Hattiesburg Zoo/Photo credit: WDAM

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Animal care specialists at the Hattiesburg Zoo are excited about an unexpected new resident that was born there recently.

On Feb. 5, Mo, the zoo's female Hoffman's Two-Toed sloth, gave birth to a one pound, two-ounce baby.

It is thought to be the first sloth born in captivity in Mississippi.

"As far as I know, this is the first sloth birth in a Mississippi zoo," said Stephen Taylor, animal care manager for the Hattiesburg Zoo. "The closest place you'd have to travel would be Zoo Atlanta to see something like this, so it's something really special and unique that we're able to show you guys."

Sloths of this species are found in tropical forests in Central and South America.

Zoo personnel suspected Mo was pregnant, but did not know for sure until she gave birth.

The gestation period for sloths is seven to 10 months.

Mo is 10-years-old and is a first-time mother.

The father is a five-year-old named Chewy.

The baby is not nursing on its own yet, so keepers are feeding it puppy replacement milk every two hours.

Baby sloths usually switch to solid food after about one month.

Zoo staff said the baby and parents are doing well.

"We're all feeling really, really positive about it," said Taylor. "The baby just keeps gaining more weight, eating more and more. It's getting more coordinated, more lively, so everything is looking really, really, really terrific."

It has not been named yet because staff have not determined its gender.