Living a Zoo Dream – Two-toed Sloth

Sloth

Three weeks in, and never a dull moment. While winter is generally considered the slow time at the zoo, there are always exciting and interesting happenings.

From an animal perspective, our staff is working diligently to ensure that everyone is warm, happy and healthy. This means maintaining appropriate environments for all the different species for which we care, providing a well-balanced diet and creating unique enrichment opportunities to keep our animal friends engaged and active during the winter months.

From a visitor perspective, we are working hard to keep our walking paths safe and our parking lot clear, as well as to create exciting and fun activities for our guests. I find that winter is the best time to come to the zoo for keeper talks. Not only do you get stories different from those you would hear during the warmer-weather months, but also with fewer guests you often get time to chat one-on-one with our amazing keepers.

The fun fact I learned this week at a keeper talk is that in a lemur troop, the females are dominant and direct much of the activity in the pack (feeding, sleeping, play, etc.). It’s amazing how much my family operations have in common with a lemur pack!

Also, winter is the time that many of our animals form bonding relationships and begin the breeding process. We are actively monitoring many of our animal groups for signs of breeding, and we hope to welcome some babies to the zoo this spring.

My animal highlight of this week is Georgie the sloth. As most of you know, Georgie celebrated her 20th birthday this weekend at the zoo. Georgie is a two-toed sloth who has lived at the zoo since 2006. Due to her slow metabolism, she is not extremely active. She only goes the bathroom once a week. She also spends a lot of time sleeping.

Despite her relative inactivity, she actually is very fit, with her only fat being stored in her paw pads. She is highly scent-motivated and loves to eat eggs, squash and pumpkin. If you stop by the zoo, try to check out Georgie earlier in the day (around 10 a.m.), as that’s when she is the most active.

Well, that’s all I have for this week. Take care, stay warm—and, like Georgie, hang loose.

Corey Leet is CEO of the Lake Superior Zoo. You can contact him at cleet@lszoo.org or 218-730-4500, extension 203. Find his blog at lszooduluth.org and on the Lake Superior Zoo’s Facebook and Twitter profiles.


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