Time is ticking and the Cincinnati Zoo's sloth named Lightning will soon be having a baby. Lightning the sloth is pregnant, zoo officials announced in February. She's the live-in partner of Moe, a longtime resident of the zoo.
Moe, 21, and Lightning, 8, are both two-toed sloths. An ultrasound at the beginning of the year confirmed that Lightning is expecting.
Lightning became pregnant around October, and gestation for a sloth is around 10 to 11 months. Lightning is expected to deliver her newborn sometime this fall. Like everything sloths do, growing a baby takes a long time.
This is the first sloth baby for the Cincinnati Zoo.
Lightning came to the zoo in 2019 on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan.
She joined Moe, who has been at the zoo since 2006.
Moe was orphaned in the wild. And being from the wild, his genetics are very valuable. Finally, after 15 years, Moe is going to be a father.
The courtship took a long time. It wasn’t love at first sight, but the pair warmed up to each other and couldn’t stay 6 feet apart during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In mid-July, the Cincinnati Zoo announced that the birth watch is on meaning volunteers will be watching Lightning on camera overnight to let her care team know if they see any signs of labor.
Lightning's keepers have already prepped and baby-proofed her habitat.
The care team will continue to monitor Lightning and will perform regular ultrasounds throughout her pregnancy.
On Wednesday, the Cincinnati Zoo provided another update on Lightning's pregnancy saying the sloth's care team noticed that her baby has started to move lower in her abdomen and she has begun lactating a little.
According to the zoo, Lightning is in the final weeks of her 10-month gestation period.