The UK’s favourite pensioner sloths have got a brand-new retirement home.
Over lockdown residents Tuppee, 26, and Lightcap, 36, packed their bags and moved into a new, purpose-built home for older sloths.
Instead of taking on young breeding pairs of sloths, the zoo team at Pembrokeshire zoo, Folly Farm, currently homes older sloths which have ‘retired’ from other zoos, giving them a comfortable place to settle into their twilight years.
While the zoo was closed during lockdown, Folly Farm’s zookeepers jumped on the home improvement bandwagon and built Tuppee and Lightcap a new, bigger retirement home in the Tropical Trails exhibit.
Designed with older sloths in mind, ‘Sloth Forest’ features everything the retirees could want including biomass heating, soft flooring and extra places to snooze.
Folly Farm sloth keeper, Becky Dyson, said: “Like us humans, sloths are prone to aching muscles and creaking joints as they get older. Our new sloth retirement home has lots of warmth, cosy places to cuddle up and plenty of humidity.
“The new flooring is made out of cocoa fibre soil which is nice and soft when they come down from the trees. We kept their branches close together so it’s easy for them to climb around and explore their new home and put in a sprinkling system which keeps things nice and humid for them.
“We all know how important it is to keep active as we get older and sloths are no different. We’ve spaced things like their feeding stations and sleeping boxes a bit further apart in Sloth Forest to encourage them to keep moving around. But as we all know, sloths aren’t famous for being active. They spend a lot of time cuddled up together in their boxes.”
Two-toed sloths are known for being peaceful and gentle. So gentle, in fact, that Folly Farm is preparing to launch a ‘meet the sloths’ experience for members of the public later this year, once Tuppee and Lightcap have settled into their new home and life post-lockdown.
Becky continued: “Sloths are always one of our most popular animals. Our sloth adoption packs are a best-seller, so we never have a shortage of people wanting to meet them. Lightcap is a sweetheart, she’s really curious and always interested in what we’re doing so we’re pretty confident she’ll love meeting our visitors when the experience is up and running. Tuppee is a typical grumpy old man, but he’s definitely softened since Lightcap moved in a couple of years ago. They enjoy each other’s company and we often find them cuddled up together.
“As you might expect, Tuppee and Lightcap weren’t really affected by the lockdown. Sloths aren’t exactly known for being party animals so the ‘stay at home’ order didn’t bother them at all. They’re chilled as anything and much prefer hanging out in their boxes to socialising. They have made some new friends in lockdown though – Sloth Forest is also home to lots of free flying birds.”
Indoor attractions opened in Wales on May 17th, so members of the public are now able to visit Tuppee and Lightcap in their new retirement home at Sloth Forest.
Find out more about Folly Farm’s planned Sloth experiences at https://www.folly-farm.co.uk/animal-experiences/sloth-feeding.