Kara: Sloths have captured the hearts of many people, and rightfully so! They are such unique and interesting animals. The downside of this popularity is the rising threat of the illegal pet trade. Because of their slow and docile nature, sloths are easy to grab out of trees and sell as pets. This is damaging to their populations in the wild. Not to mention sloths need specific foods, environments and enrichment, which makes caring for them a round-the-clock job.
Sloths, like other wild animals, do not make good pets. Make sure you do your research before bringing an animal home.
Denny: For anyone interested in working with sloths, my best advice is to spend time watching them. Since sloths sleep most of the day, videos are a great way to observe their behavior and learn about them. Also, visit zoos that care for sloths! Many zoos have animal ambassador sloths, which keepers can bring out for up-close encounters with visitors.
Kara: We are extremely fortunate as keepers to be able to form bonds with our animals, get to know their personalities and quirks, and take care of some of the coolest animals on the planet!
Slow down and check out the Zoo's southern two-toed sloths in the Small Mammal House and Amazonia when you plan your visit today!
See how to care for a variety of animals from keepers all over Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute here.