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Adorable Baby Sloth Surprises Zookeepers With Speedy Birth

Sloths are notoriously slow – but not Terry (Picture: PA/London Zoo)

An adorable baby sloth has surprised keepers at London Zoo with an uncharacteristically fast entrance into the world.

Sloths may be notorious for being slow-moving but Terry, a two-toed sloth born at the end of October, had other ideas.

Knowing pregnant mum Marilyn, was due any day, zookeepers arrived at the sloth enclosure early on Sunday, October 24 to check on her.

They found Marilyn peacefully snuggled up in her den and no baby in sight.

Satisfied all was well, the keepers went away to prepare the animals’ breakfast.

When they returned to check on Marilyn less than an hour later they found she had calmly gone into labour and quickly given birth.

London Zoo sloth keeper Marcel McKinley said the team knew Marilyn was coming to the end of her pregnancy and had been ‘keeping a close eye on her’ by ‘arranging regular ultrasounds’ with the zoo’s vets.

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Marcel said: ‘We looked in on her first thing and there was no baby – and no sign at all that she was labour.  
‘Less than an hour later I spotted something that looked like a tiny arm, tucked into Marilyn’s tummy.

‘I called the rest of the team to confirm my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me, and they arrived just in time to see her turn around in the tree and give us the perfect view of her healthy newborn. She clearly took the whole thing in her stride.’

Marilyn and her two-week-old baby are ‘doing really well’, keepers say.

They won’t know the baby’s sex until vets confirm it using DNA analysis of its hair.

Once confirmed, its details will be added to the European Studbook which is part of a coordinated breeding programme for two-toed sloths.

Ahead of this, the youngster has been named Terry after one of London Zoo’s longest-serving keepers.

Zookeepers say the adorable baby two-toed sloth is doing well (Picture: London Zoo Provider: ZSL)

Little Terry is only two weeks old (Picture: London Zoo Provider: ZSL)

Marcel said: ‘We’ve named the youngster Terry, after one of the Zoo’s longest-serving zookeepers – our colleague Terry March, who has devoted his whole life to caring for threatened species and educating the public about wildlife.’

Two-toed sloths are nocturnal mammals that are native to South America.

Unlike many mammals, they’re unable to regulate their own body temperature, meaning they are increasingly threatened by climate change.

Visitors to London Zoo will be able to see Marilyn and Terry in the zoo’s Rainforest Life enclosure, a tropical paradise heated to 28°C all year round.

The sloths share the area with titi monkeys, tree anteaters, golden-headed lion monkeys and red-footed tortoises.

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