NORFOLK, Va. — The Virginia Zoo announced Monday that it has welcomed a baby two-toed sloth to its collection.
The newborn marks a new addition to the sloth exhibit in the conservatory at the Norfolk-based zoo's World of Reptiles. The sloth arrived overnight on April 17 and is the second offspring of its mom Honey and dad Mervin.
Even though baby sloths are only 12 to 16 ounces when born, they are mobile from birth and can cling to their mothers’ undersides with their long nails. When they are born, the sloths are already covered in fur, have fully developed teeth and their eyes are open.
Greg Bockheim, the executive director of the Virginia Zoo, said the sloth's gender is unknown right now, since newborns have a tendency to cling to their moms to hide from potential predators.
In the meantime, zookeepers won't interfere while the mom and baby bond these first few weeks. The baby will stay with its mom for 11 to 12 months, but will start climbing off when it is around one month old to explore its surroundings.
The zoo is asking people to submit name suggestions for the newborn sloth for just $5. Zookeepers will narrow down the names, and the sloth family will choose the final name.
The zoo is accepting gender-neutral name entries from Monday to Saturday on its website. The name will be revealed via social media on May 16.
The proceeds will support the zoo's Act for Wildlife fund, which benefits conservation efforts around the world.