Lovable baby two-toed sloth is born at zoo

Hoffman's baby two-toed sloth and mother
Palm Beach Zoo/Facebook

What’s cuter than a Hoffman’s two-toed sloth? A baby Hoffman’s two-toed sloth, of course — and a zookeeper at Palm Beach Zoo was lucky enough to witness the new sloth mom welcome one into the world on Jan. 23.

The new baby may not have been a surprise, but it was still a welcome sight for both zookeepers and visitors. The sloth mom, named Wilbur, had been moved into a special, climate-controlled space a few weeks ago in preparation for her delivery. Daddy sloth Dustin also has a home at the zoo, but he was allowed to remain in his original habitat. (Sloths have a reputation for being lazy, and the dads don’t do much to help that perception: They play no part in the raising of young, apart from the mating.)

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Dustin and Wilbur had been paired up by zoo researchers as part of their Species Survival Plan, a breeding plan that matches the most genetically viable animals in an effort to produce offspring that can help the general population thrive. Hoffman’s two-toed sloths are currently a species of least concern and animal conservationists are hoping to keep it that way.

MORE: Cincinnati Zoo welcomes new baby sloth

We’re excited for guests to witness the development of this unique little baby,” said chief animal conservation officer Renee Bumpus in a press release from the zoo. “In the meantime, Wilbur is very attentive, and the baby will stay closely attached to mom for a while.”

That’s normal behavior for baby two-toed sloths, who will generally stay latched onto their mother for the first five weeks of life. Guests to the zoo can get a look at the new baby in her special nursery, but he or she won’t have a name until zookeepers can determine a gender, which can be difficult to confirm in infancy. In the meantime, the zoo has been posting updates on Wilbur’s baby to their Facebook page, including the heart-melting video above.

MORE: You can make this adorable crochet sloth planter yourself

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Tod Caviness
Tod covered everything from nightlife to Orlando's literary scene (yes, it has one) during his 11 years with the Orlando Sentinel. These days, he's a freelance journalist and recovering poet who lives in Central Florida with his lovely wife, two brilliant kids and one underachieving dog. Visit Scripps News to see more of Tod's work.

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