WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – It’s time to take it slow on this week’s visit to the Oglebay Good Zoo.
That’s because the Linne’s two-toed sloth lives a mostly relaxed lifestyle.
Although sloths like three and a half-year-old Sweet Pea are solitary animals, she was happy to keep the Animals Up Close winners company.
“How these guys move around is they actually do it upside down and they do it from tree to tree way up high in South America,” explained Mindi White with the Oglebay Good Zoo. “They’re able to get from tree to tree on the vines and branches.”
If you look up in the wild to spot a sloth, it may not be easy to find among the trees.
Sweet Pea’s fur is pretty important since the brown tone helps her to camouflage. There’s a reason it grows downward.
“If you look at Sweet Pea’s coat underneath the microscope, you look at this fur, it actually has ridges that go with it,” White said. “If Sweet Pea gets all wet, which she’s going to in South America, that water’s going to sluff right off that fur and drip right off of her.”
There’s also a species of moss that lives in South America that grows on sloths, adding to their camouflage.
If you can spot Sweet Pea, chances are she may be resting, because sloths sleep between 15 and 18 hours a day.
If a predator approaches while a sloth is sleeping, they’ll probably know because the species has great hearing and a keen sense of smell.
“She has a very big nose, so she’s able to take in all kinds of scents,” White continued.
Those senses are heightened because sloth’s eyesight isn’t great.
“They technically should be wearing glasses at all times,” White joked.
While meeting the Animals Up Close winners, Sweet Pea was munching on some yams. Sloths are leaf-eaters, but be careful of those teeth!
“Those are nothing to mess with,” White cautioned. “They’re extremely sharp on the sides.”
The Oglebay Good Zoo is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
If you’d like to visit Sweet Pea, the zoo also does animal encounters. For more information call 304-243-4100, or visit the Oglebay Good Zoo website.