Crawl, don't walk, to Folly Farm's new sloth retirement home.
If you think retirement homes are just for humans, think again. According to the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the adventure park zoo in Wales, UK, opened this unique resting home in November 2018.
Just like us, animals need somewhere to enjoy their golden years in comfort and style. You may already have heard of retirement homes for dogs and cats…well, meet the new retirement home for sloths.
The sloth retirement home is designed to be a place of rest and relaxation for aging zoo sloths.Instead of taking on young breeding pairs, The Folly's farm have made the decision to home older sloths which have 'retired' from other zoos, giving them a comfortable home tailored to their needs as they relax into their twilight years.
The unique retirment home homed their first older two-toed sloth, Tuppee, in March 2016
Like us humans, sloths need a little company from time-to-time and, now 24, Tuppee has just been joined by Lightcap from Bristol Zoo who, 10 years Tuppee's senior at 34, is currently the 5th oldest sloth in any European zoo.
Reaching an average weight of 8kg, two-toed sloths have a lifespan of around 20 years in the wild but have been known to live up to 50 years captivity.
These peaceful, gentle animals are slow-moving even in their prime, so it's no wonder their elders need a bit of extra care and attention.
Tim Morphew, the zoo curator, explained on their official website:
"Initially we didn't make a conscious decision to home older sloths. Conservation is key for us at Folly Farm and our breeding programmes are a huge part of that, but our older animals are just as important to us and we need to make sure they're looked after in their old age. By taking on these older animals and giving them a comfortable retirement, we're helping conservation efforts at other zoos by freeing up enclosures for younger, breeding pairs.
"Aching muscles, creaking joints and slowing down a bit are all things that happen to us as we get older, and most animals are no different. With the older sloths, we might boil their root vegetables to make them softer and easier to eat and, if they're showing signs of old age, add supplements like cod liver oil into their diet. Depending on how they get on, we might also look at adapting the enclosure to make the floor deeper and reduce the height of branches, so they don't have as far to climb down.
"Like many older men, Tuppee has been known to be a bit grumpy and even misbehaves at times but we know he's a softie at heart. We're hoping some older, female company will be a good influence on him and bring out the softer side of his nature. Sloths aren't known for being social animals, but as they get older we've found they do like company. So, we're all looking forward to getting to know Lightcap and seeing how the pair get on.
Here's a cute video welcoming their new resident:
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