Sloths are adorable little animals that are incredibly slow moving. When one young sloth didn’t have his mother around, the zoo that he was living in needed to come up with a plan. So they brought in a cute teddy bear that the baby sloth now refuses to part ways with.
20. London Zoo
The London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo. When it first opened it was intended for scientific studies, however, these days it’s become so much more. You won’t believe how many species they have living at the London Zoo!
19. Many Animals
There are currently 755 different species of animals residing at the zoo. Altogether there are 15,104 individuals animals. This makes the London Zoo one of the largest collections in the United Kingdom.
18. Special Animal
Recently, zookeepers at the London Zoo have been keeping a watchful eye over one animal in particular. That animal happens to be Edward, a seven-week-old two toed sloth. So what’s so special about Edward?
Staff at the zoo have recently begun hand-rearing Edward ever since his mother, Marilyn, stopped producing milk. Although the staff at the zoo were able to feed him, Edward needed to have a mother around. Without his mother he would never make it…
16. Building Muscle
You see, baby sloths depend on their mothers to build muscles as babies. When their mother’s feed them, the baby sloths gain muscle by clambering over their mothers. Zoo staff instantly knew that they had to figure out a solution.
15. A Surrogate
Suddenly staff at the zoo came up with a great idea! They decided to gift Edward a teddy bear from the gift shop to act as a surrogate mother. However, it wasn’t just any kind of teddy bear!
Handler Kelly-Anne Kelleher got the teddy bear custom-made for the baby sloth to use. The bear was fitted with carabiners so that it could be hung up onto a tree. This allowed Edward to climb on it, in turn strengthening his limbs.
Little Edward immediately became attached to his bear pal. The interactions between the two were incredibly sweet and zoo staff couldn’t believe their eyes! However, staff is happy that Edward’s limbs will be getting the exercise they need.
12. His Name
So how did this baby sloth get the name Edward? Well, zoo staff were inspired after Johnny Depp’s character, Edward Scissorhands, who had enormous scissor claws for hands. The staff thought it would be the perfect since Edward’s hands will grow pretty big.
11. Big Arms
Edward’s arms will continue to grow and they will get pretty massive! They will grow about four more inches in length allowing him to cling on and climb on trees with ease. This will come in handy in his Rainforest Life home.
10. Slow Animals
For those of you that may not already know this, sloths are particularly slow moving creatures. Baby Edward, of course, is no exception to this rule and his handler, Kelly-Anne has noticed it often. You won’t believe how his feeding schedule is affected by his slow moving nature!
9. Patiently Waiting
Many times, Kelly-Anne will have to patiently wait for Edward to wake up from a deep sleep in order to feed him. It takes him a little while to get himself out of a sleepy mood and ready to eat. “We’re bottle-feeding Edward every three hours with goat’s milk, topped up with some vitamins to keep him fit and healthy,” said Ms Kelleher.
8. Feeding Schedule
“Just like with human baby formula, we heat it up until it’s at room temperature, and test its warmth on our wrists – it took him a few days to get used to the bottle, but now he’s hungrily suckling as soon as we give it to him.” Edward even makes the cutest noise when he’s really hungry!
7. Funny Noise
“If he’s feeling particularly hungry he makes a very funny noise to let us know – a sound somewhere between a squeak and a sneeze, but it’s very loud and he makes his point.” Edward has been eating well and the zoo staff is happy about that!
6. Detailed Records
The zoo has been keeping detailed records on Edward’s eating habits and growth. He has been doing very well despite being hand-reared. You won’t believe what else they log into their records…
5. Potty Logs
The zoo staff even logs in Edward’s potty habits. But, why do they do this? Well, sloth’s only use the bathroom about once a week. Keeping track of this helps them to see if he’s losing or gaining weight.
4. Enjoying Life
For now Edward is enjoying his life inside of the zoo. He has been doing a phenomenal job at assimilating to the lifestyle and zoo staff are pleased with his progress.
3. Teddy Love
Edward is still very much attached to his lovely mother surrogate. He loves his teddy and spends a lot of time climbing onto it. This has been helping his growth tremendously.
2. Looking Out
Without staff looking after these sloth’s, Edward may have never stood a chance to survive into adulthood. With his mother’s milk running dry, Edward would have had nothing to eat. Not to mention, his limbs wouldn’t have had a chance to strengthen either.
1. Good Life
Edward is now living the good life at the London Zoo. His handler Kelly-Anne will continue to watch after him and document his growth until adulthood.