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Long-lived sloth at John Ball Zoo Dies

By Khristine Faith February 24, 2021 0 comments

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — One of John Ball Zoo's longest residents has passed away.

Linus, the zoo's Linne’s two-toed sloth was put down after a mass was found in his nose in 2020.

Born in 1982 at Milwaukee County Zoo, Linus made the move to Grand Rapids as a one-year-old in 1983. Over the years, he shared space with other sloths, monkeys, armadillos, and tortoises. Zookeepers say he was a friendly creature, at least when he was awake. According to the zoo's information about Linne's two-toed sloths, they sleep around 15 hours every day.

When Linus started having a runny nose in 2020, he underwent a CT scan, revealing the mass. The medical team at John Ball Zoo tried several treatments, but months later, they came to the decision that his quality of life would never be the same.

We are saddened to share with you the passing of Linus, our Linne’s two-toed sloth.

Linus was born in 1982 and joined John Ball Zoo in 1983 from Milwaukee County Zoo. When awake, Linus was Mr. Congeniality! He was a favorite of keepers and guests and shared his home over the years with other sloths, saki monkeys, armadillos, and red-footed tortoises.

During the late fall of 2020, Linus began experiencing some chronic nasal discharge. A CT scan and nasal biopsies were performed and these tests identified a mass in Linus' nasal passages that seemed to be causing the discharge. Under the care of the Animal Care and Animal Health teams, Linus underwent a variety of medical treatments, but ultimately it became clear that Linus' quality of life had declined and the teams had to make the difficult decision to move forward with euthanasia. These decisions are always difficult but always made with the hope of doing what is best for the animals involved.

In the wild, the life expectancy for a two-toed sloth is about 20 years. In human care, sloths can live 30-40 years. At 38 years old, Linus was considered a senior sloth. Thank you to all the keepers and vet staff who loved and cared for him over the last three decades. He will be very missed.


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