Sloth arrival causes a sensation in Sheffield
01 February 2019
Our latest resident at the Tropical Butterfly House has been anything but slow to cause a stir! We are delighted to announce the arrival of our first ever sloth to the wildlife park on Monday 21 January where he has been receiving a warm, ‘tropical’ welcome by staff and visitors alike as he settles in to his new home, just in time to help us celebrate our 25th anniversary in March 2019.
The only sloth local to South Yorkshire, he was born in Amsterdam and has been living in Hamerton Zoo, Cambridgeshire for the last 18 years where he was never named but simply referred to as Mr Sloth.
At 29 years old, our male Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth lives in the heights of the Butterfly House where his neighbours include butterflies, lorikeets and turtles. A sloth’s low energy diet means they conserve energy by moving very slowly and deliberately and can snooze for up to 15 hours a day - but don’t worry he will be as active at night as during the day so it is easy for visitors to see him. In the wild, sloths only come down from the trees to poo twice a month, however ours will poo twice a week due to him receiving a fuller diet including his favourite leaves and parnsips.
Sloths are native to South America and are unique in the animal world for spending most of their time upside down. They are solitary creatures and can live up to 50 years in captivity and although listed as ‘least concern’ there is a decrease in numbers in the wild, mainly down to the destruction of their natural habitat.
Animal team leader, Abigail Carter, was part of the team who undertook the two-hour journey to bring him to the park and oversees his settling in says:
“Like the cliché says, our sloth slept all the way to his new home! Having him here at the wildlife park is such a fantastic move forward for us and I have no doubt he will be very popular. It not only gives us the chance to educate the public on these incredible animals the opportunity to highlight the effects of deforestation to sloths and other animals around the world. I always find people feel more connected and more likely to listen about conservation issues when they can experience the animals in person.”
Andrew Reeve, wildlife park manager, talks about the slow journey of this highly anticipated arrival:
“I put our name on the waiting list seven years ago when I took over as park manager. It has been a long, slow process and prior to his arrival we’ve trained our staff on how to care for him and prepare his new habitat. He will however continue to surprise us as we learn more about his behaviour and daily routines. We’re delighted that due to the dedication and perseverance of the animal team, our newest arrival will bring joy to all our visitors.”
Visitors can see ‘Mr Sloth’ moving around the Butterfly House, look out for a large black nose like a Labrador and his brown fur which feels like a wig, and get involved with our naming competition which will feature over our social media channels. This February half term, come and enjoy our sloth inspired trail and a ranger talk about these fascinating animals. Sloth merchandise is also available from our gift shop.
Through the holiday, families can also enjoy amazing daily Animal Encounters and meet wildlife from around the world with our Lemur Walkthrough, Exotic Animal, Otter and Meerkat talks, Parrot and Free Flying Bird and Animal Displays and don’t miss the chance to meet Rexy, our friendly T-Rex on our Dino Trail or take a Tractor Trailer Ride! For youngsters, it’s always playtime at Camelot adventure playground and find fun activities and face-painting in our arts and crafts room. Enjoy a delicious treat in our Butterfly Café and Lottie’s Coffee Lounge.
As part of our 25 anniversary celebrations, look out for more exciting events throughout the year.
The Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre is open daily, all year round and is located just five minutes from the M1, junction 31, with free parking. See www.butterflyhouse.co.uk to plan your visit.