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Zoo creates retirement home for elderly sloths

Two-toed sloths can live for up to 50 years in captivity

If you think retirement homes are just for humans, think again - because a zoo in Pembrokeshire has taken in two elderly sloths to give them somewhere to enjoy their golden years in comfort.

Instead of taking on young breeding pairs, the zoo team at Folly Farm has made the decision to home older sloths which have 'retired' from other zoos, giving them a home tailored to their needs as they relax into their twilight years.

The first older two-toed sloth, 24-year-old Tuppee, arrived in March 2016 and has just been joined by Lightcap from Bristol Zoo who, 10 years Tuppee's senior at 34, is currently the fifth oldest sloth in any European zoo.

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20 yrs
two-toed sloths have a lifespan of around 20 years in the wild
50
they have been known to live up to 50 years in captivity

To make the sloths more comfortable, the zoo boil their vegetables to make them softer and add supplements to their food such as cod liver oil.

The elderly sloths are given supplements and have their vegetables boiled by zoo staff Credit: Folly farm

Conservation is key for us at Folly Farm and our breeding programmes are a huge part of that, but our older animals are just as important to us and we need to make sure they're looked after in their old age. By taking on these older animals and giving them a comfortable retirement, we're helping conservation efforts at other zoos by freeing up enclosures for younger, breeding pairs.

– Tim Morphew, Folly Farm's zoo curator