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Baby sloth is growing up with other babies

By Khristine Faith June 21, 2021 0 comments

There’s been a recent baby boom at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence.

Pasty, a nine-banded armadillo, gave birth to a litter of four babies, who will turn eight-weeks-old.

The little ones are all girls. Their names are Rose, Blanche, Dorothy, and Sophia, named after characters on the hit show, “The Golden Girls,” which debuted in 1985.

“There is one that is better at being held and that one is probably going to be Rose,” Becca Hollenbeck, who is the primary keeper for ambassador programing at the Zoo, told NBC 10 News during a visit Wednesday morning.

Jen Rudolph is the manager of ambassador programing. She said armadillo litters are always either all male or all female.

“This is mama’s second littler,” Rudolph said. “She had boys last year. Their dad is actually a wild armadillo that came from Florida. He’s name’s Sheldon.”

Plus, there are four North American River Otters, who are four-and-a-half months old. Their mother, Mishontoo, was swimming with them, stopping to snack on some fish, collect rocks, and they dry off on land, rubbing her fur on a log.

“There are two boys and two girls,” Matt Fugate, another zookeeper, said of the otters. “They will be five months July 1.”

Fugate added that the boys are named Rosco and Cletus, while the girls are Daisy and Flash.

“They kind of became the ‘Hazard Gang,’” he said, a nod to “The Dukes of Hazard.”

There’s also a golden lion tamarin, Boudica, who was born at the end of February.

“She was named after a Celtic warrior queen,” said Jen Hennessy, a zookeeper at the Faces of the Rainforest portion of the Zoo.

“Her parents still offer her food,” Hennessy said of Boudica, as Boudica is still growing, also noting that the baby will soon grow a thick mane like her mother and father, Raff and Kyle, as golden lion tamarins have fur that resemble a lion.

 

Hennessy added that Boudica loves playing with the Linnaeus two-toed sloths, including Westley, 6, Fiona, 6, and Beany.

Beany, the baby sloth, just celebrated her first birthday May 13.

“Beany is one year, one month, and three days old,” said Hennessy.

 

Hennessy added that Beany, along with her parents, are popular at the Zoo. From “squeals of joy,” to tears, guests gravitate toward the sloths.

“Sloths have become really popular within the last 10 years,” she said. “People are just really drawn to sloths. They have a very sweet face that looks content all the time and that may be one of the things people are drawn to.”

Hennessy has another theory.

“Maybe it’s their lifestyle -- people may want to slow down and relax,” she said. “Maybe they are envious because our lives tend to be a little hectic.”

Sloths, said Hennessy, are mammals that eat mostly leaves and browse. They are from Central and South America and are also masters of conserving energy.

“They are the best of the best,” she said. “They are warm-blooded, but their body temperature can fluctuate about 11 degrees, so they act almost like a reptile that when their body temperature gets really low, they go to the sun and the sun helps warm their internal body temperature and that’s a way of conserving energy.”

Their muscle-to-fat ratio is also unique for a mammal.

“They have about 30 percent less muscle than the average mammal,” she said.

Hennessy added that the sloths are just some of the many “amazing” animals at the Zoo.

She said the Zoo, which is a non-profit organization, offers guests a fun and educational experience, with admission fees helping to keep animals as healthy as possible.

“When anyone comes to the Zoo, they get to be up-close-and-personal to these animals, which you wouldn’t do in a normal circumstance” Hennessy said. “It helps to provide empathy for animals, and maybe encourage people to take care of the wild habitats that are intact.”

 


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