Baby sloth's surprise arrival 'delights' Drusillas Zoo Park's keepers after mum spotted with newborn

  • The youngster is already becoming a highlight for visitors lucky enough to catch a glimpse of her

Drusillas Zoo Park has announced the safe and healthy arrival of a beautiful baby sloth, whose surprise arrival has delighted their team of keepers.

Keepers couldn’t believe their eyes when resident sloth female, Halina, wondered down from her bed to say good morning and had a new addition tenderly clinging to her.

Upon discovering what is now the second sloth born at Drusillas Park, the keeping team immediately leapt into action, tending to the tiny babe.

Sloth pregnancies are notoriously difficult to predict, due to the lifestyle they lead. They remain inactive for the majority of the day in a state know as ‘active rest’.

Halina and her baby spend a lot of time 'hanging out'. Credit: Drusillas Zoo Park

The surprise arrival was spotted on the morning of November 29.

They also tend to spend most of their time curled up in a big, hairy ball and don’t make it obvious they are expecting.

Sloths do not always present a big, pregnant abdomen as with most mammal species, as they have 47 ribs that encase their bodies. It is also very difficult to detect pregnancy through the increase in body weight as sloth go to toilet so infrequently.

When they do finally decide to use the toilet, they can lose a third of their bodyweight in one sitting.

Halina and Sophocles proudly show off their new baby. Credit: Drusillas Zoo Park

Zoo Animal Manager, Mark Kenward, said: “We are always prepared for the birth of new infants as we know this can happen at any time. Gemma and I remained at the zoo late into the night to make sure everything was moving in the right direction, with this being Halina’s first born."

"Whilst baby and mum looked very healthy, the baby on occasion got a little confused and would climb onto dad Sophocles, remaining attached to him for a number of hours.”

Mark added: “Late into the evening, when sloths are most active, we calmly removed the baby from Sophocles and placed it back on Halina, but not before we had a chance to quickly weigh and check the gender.

"Halina and the baby, which we now believe to be a female, have been closely monitored ever since. The baby has been feeding really well and received the all-important colostrum from mum.”

Halina enjoys lunch as her baby clings to her. Credit: Drusillas Zoo Park

Head Keeper, Gemma Romanis, added; “We are absolutely thrilled to bits to share this exciting news, the new arrival is something we are immensely proud of as a team.

"Baby seems to be thriving under the careful watch of our keepers, and is doing everything she should be at this stage.

"Halina is being wonderfully attentive, and considering this is her first baby, it seems to have all come very naturally to her."

The youngster is already becoming a highlight for visitors lucky enough to catch a glimpse of her peacefully snuggled into mum, in one of the Zoos walkthrough enclosures.