Meet Odysseus, the new Sloth at the Montgomery Zoo [PHOTOS]

Montgomery Zoo
Odysseus, a 4-years-old, Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth at the Montgomery Zoo. (Montgomery Zoo/Facebook)

This week, the Montgomery Zoo welcomed the arrival of Odysseus, a 4-years-old,  Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth.

Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloths are named after German naturalist Karl Hoffmann (1823-1859). Their native habitats are in the Central and South American countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. 

This species has two toes on their forefeet that end with claws. Their back feet have three clawed toes. The sloths usually have tan to light brown shaggy fur. These sloths can sometimes appear green from algae collecting in their fur.

“Sloths are a species that both keepers and the public love—so when there were some looking for new homes from other zoos, we thought them to be the perfect choice,” said Animal Care Manager Andi Clason.

Why Are Sloths Slow?

Montgomery Zoo
Odysseus, a 4-years-old, Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth at the Montgomery Zoo. (Montgomery Zoo/Facebook)

According to the Montgomery Zoo sloths might appear slow due to laziness, but their lack of speed is primarily due to a low energy diet of leaves. Who knew?

In addition to leaves, Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloths diet includes: 

  • Buds 
  • Tender Twigs
  • Young Plant Shoots
  • Fruits
  • Flowers

Fun fact: Odysseus is described as not a morning sloth, but is curious when he wakes up. 

Sounds like a teenager. We are guessing the best time to see Odysseus at the zoo is the afternoon.

Another “speed” fact: Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloths move at about half a foot-per-second but can move 50% faster when excited.

Conservation

Montgomery Zoo
Odysseus, a 4-years-old, Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth at the Montgomery Zoo. (Montgomery Zoo/Facebook)

Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloths are classified as least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). There are no major threats to the species, but habitat degradation and fragmentation are affecting some populations in Central America and Colombia.

“Sloths are a species that the majority of people love, but may not be aware that their native habitat is quickly disappearing due to deforestation,” added Clason. “By bringing this new species into the Montgomery Zoo family, we look forward to continuing the conversation about habitat conservation for species all over the globe.”

Montgomery Zoo
Odysseus, a 4-years-old, Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth at the Montgomery Zoo. (Montgomery Zoo/Facebook)

Have you ever seen a Sloth? Now is your chance.  Welcome Odysseus to Alabama with a visit to the Montgomery Zoo.

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Pat Byington
Pat Byington
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