New Sloth Habitat Opening at Reid Park Zoo on Tuesday

Come “hang” out at Reid Park Zoo on Tuesday, August 15 for the opening of the brand new Sloth habitat. The space will open to the public at 9 a.m. when guests can see Gwen the Linné’s two-toed sloth in his new habitat.

“We are incredibly excited to introduce our community to this species, which is one of the slowest and most mysterious animals on Earth,” said Adam Ramsey, Director of Animal Care.

The new habitat features both indoor and outdoor habitat spaces for the sloth, with lots of perching for Gwen to “hang out,” as sloth’s hook-link fingers and toes allow them to do.

The habitat also features a beautiful mural by local artist Alejandra Trujillo, featuring a South American dreamscape from a Linné’s two-toed sloth’s point of view.

The sloth habitat has been built as a part of the Zoo’s Master Plan, thanks to the support of Tucson voters in the November 2017 election. With the community’s help, the Zoo has already undergone many improvements, from a brand new flamingo habitat at the entrance of the Zoo, to infrastructure improvements throughout the grounds that provide added comfort for animals and guests, as well as better animal viewing. Upcoming projects include the opening of the Angel Charity World of Play Adventure Zone this fall, as well as construction beginning on the much-anticipated Pathway to Asia addition.

Guests can show their love for sloths as a species by being mindful when shopping, and choosing to purchase products that are sustainably sourced. Sloths are at risk in the wild due to habitat loss for agriculture and human development. One way to know if a product has been sustainably grown and harvested is to look for symbols from organizations that go through a certification process to prove they are operating in a way that is not harming the wildlife, workers, or the habitat.

Fun Sloth Facts: 

  • Sloths have the slowest metabolic rate of any non-hibernating animal. They move purposefully and slowly to help conserve their energy.
  • Sloths sleep about 8 to 10 hours a day in short naps throughout the day and night.
  • Sloths move at a speed of about 1 foot per second and can sustain this speed for long periods of time.
  • Scientists accredit sloths’ slow lifestyle to their poor eyesight, poor nutritional diet, and low muscle mass.
  • Sloths have the slowest digestive rates for any mammal.  Research shows it takes 30 days for them to fully digest what they eat.
  • Sloths spend most of their lives on trees in an upside down position.  They do most everything upside down including eating, sleeping, mating and giving birth.
  • Gwen, who is four years old, was born at the Audubon Zoo.