A pet sloth: is that possible?
You probably “Aww”-ed at them when you saw them at the zoo, or loved forwarding images of baby sloths clinging on to their mother to your gang of girls. Cute, cuddly, totally lazy and completely lovable: if you’ve always known in your heart that a sloth was your ideal pet, here’s your chance to get to know more about them! Seriously, though, we wouldn’t want you to have the kind of emotional meltdown Kristen Bell had when she discovered she was now the proud owner of a sloth! So here’s the long and short of caring for your pet sloth.
Home Sweet Home: Providing a Comfortable environment for your pet Sloth
These incredibly adorable mammals, habitually found in Central and South America, come in two categories: a) The two-toed sloth, b) The three-toed sloth. The latter one is slightly smaller than the first, and if size isn’t an issue, you could opt for either one of them. The three-toed sloth, for instance, would be just about the same size as your average (mid-sized) pet dog, so it seems like they might fit right into your home! However, considering that the three-toed sloth finds it a little more difficulty living outside their natural habitat, you might choose to stick with its two-toed sibling.
Even the two-toed sloth, however, have special needs when it comes to housing. You would do well to provide:
- A large aviary kind of enclosure with plenty of room for activities and climbing.
- A “foraging” area because sloths do need space.
- Tall trees, branches or ropes, which can provide a more natural environment.
- Temperature control, because they are used to climes of Central and South America.
Bon Appetite, Monsieur Sloth! Providing the right diet for your pet
Well, the good thing about being the proud owner of a sloth is that they’re just perfectly happy lazing around with you. When psychologists advise people to take care of some goldfish or plants, they’d perhaps be much better off suggesting that they get sloths instead. At least the poor things would live longer this way, despite any manner of negligence in terms of their diet! With four stomachs, it seems amazing that sloths can go for up to a month on just ONE meal of leafy greens.
However, it’s not all simple: just feeding your adorable pet any kind of vegetable from the green grocer’s isn’t probably a good idea, and zoos generally have high-grade specially prepared diets for animals like sloths that require a lot of fiber. The Mazuri High Fiber stick or the Diet Marion Leaf Eater Food can be good additions to your pet’s diet, with additional supplements of squash, carrots, green peas or sweet potatoes if required. As long as your sloth always has a good clean bowl of water through the day, you’re generally safe.
A Guide to Sloth Health care programs and Other Factors
Sloths are an exotic kind of pet, which means that health care is still struggling to evolve to the challenges. Yet an increasing number of vets who will regularly take faucal samples, keep parasitic infections in check, and take care of your pet’s health. With proper care, your pet can live for nearly (or more than) thirty years!
Temperature is another concern: because of the kind of environment they are used to, hot weather like in Texas or cold weather like in Alaska might be a bit of a problem. Just make sure you can provide a modulated environment with high humidity and just about temperate temperatures (neither too hot, nor too cold).
Sloths being naturally slow movers, it may not be that difficult catching up with your adorable pet. Sloths are natural swimmers and tend to do a fine breast-stroke, but they’re also generally quite lazy or busy hiding away in the branches of some tree. Not only that, but sloths bred in captivity are typically seen to sleep between 15-20 hours a day, so don’t despair if you never get the opportunity to actually interact with your pet: they are introverts like that, anyway. It might not seem like a rewarding experience without that little bit of interaction, but just think of how peaceful they can be to have around…particularly if you have a hangover.