New Sloth on Exhibit at the Texas State Aquarium
May 29, 2018
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – A young male Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth named Chico has joined the other animal residents of Caribbean Journey’s jungle at the Texas State Aquarium.
Chico is approximately one year old and arrived in January 2018 from a facility in Michigan. Since his arrival, he’s been carefully looked after by Aquarium Animal Care staff to ensure he’s healthy and acclimating to his new environment. His caretakers say he’s eating well and quickly gaining weight, feeding on a sloth-centered diet of squash, leafy greens like lettuce and a specialized snack called a “leaf-eater biscuit” which compiles all the nutrients these herbivores need.
Like the Aquarium’s female two-toed sloth, Xena, Chico will be free-roaming throughout the Caribbean jungle, so guests can expect to find these sloths just about anywhere in this spacious, naturally-lit exhibit. Animal Care staff say allowing the sloths to explore the jungle space helps them stay healthy in body and mind and encourages natural behaviors.
If circumstances allow for it, Aquarium staff said they hope Xena and Chico could one day breed. Linnaeus’s two-toed sloths are a “Yellow” species in the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA) Species Survival Program (SSP), meaning they have less than 90 percent gene diversity through the next 100 years. To strengthen their gene diversity, the reproduction of SSP program species is managed and encouraged at AZA facilities. But visitors shouldn’t expect to see a baby sloth or any sloth romance until a few years down the road. Male sloths don’t reach sexual maturity until about four or five years old, and sloths tend to be solitary, only meeting up in order to breed.
Still, the Aquarium says Chico’s addition will give guests twice as many opportunities to get a look at these amiable, slow-moving creatures during the summer season.
The Texas State Aquarium is open daily. Parking is included in your admission price. To purchase tickets in advance and skip the line or to learn more about exhibits, hours and other visitor information, visit www.texasstateaquarium.org.