Wild Encounters: Sloths

Wild Encounters

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WJBF) – NewsChannel 6’s Brandon Dawson takes us to River Banks Zoo to get an in depth look at sloths , and does a follow up on our sloth friend “Willow” who previously was getting her quarantine exam.

So Ryan lets talk a little bit about the sloths that we have here behind us.

Ryan Jones, Senior Keeper of Gorillas and Small Mammals: So here at Riverbanks we have two sloths that you can see on habitat every single day. We have Coco Joe and we have Willow. Coco Joe is the one to the left of the exhibit, he is the older of our two sloths, he is 22 years old and then we have Willow who is much younger. She is our female sloth. She is about one year and 9 months old.

Lets talk a little bit about sloths in general for some people who maybe don’t know too much about them.

Ryan: In the wild there have been reports that some sloths will actually live their entire lives living in one single tree. So their diet usually consists of leaves and dead plant life, stuff that isn’t extremely nutritious, which is a big reason why these guys are so slow. Sloths have a very slow metabolism so they can use up nutrients that they get from those from those low nutritious foods and make it last longer. So along with that slow metabolism they have they have that very slow appearance because they do not want to use or waste a lot of energy. Here at the zoo they get a much more nutritious diet that’s very well rounded and well balanced. So in the wild they may eat leaves or dead leaf fall or some older fruits. Here at the zoo they are gonna get fresh sweet potatoes, carrots, grapes, lettuce, kale, all kinds of stuff like that, that really provides them with a lot of energy and a lot of nutrition, so when you see sloths at the zoo, they’re actually going to be a lot more active than their wild counter parts and their diet is a big part of that.

Now the last time we were here Willow was having a little bit of an exam. lets get a follow up on how shes doing.

Ryan: Last time you guys were here you actually saw Willows quarantine exam. Willow is has been doing great, she came down and made herself right at home. we did a couple weeks of introduction between her and our male sloth but these two have gotten along really well and they spend most of their days pretty much doing what sloths do, napping and eating.


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