Sunday, 10 October 2010

Sorry about the lack of updates.. things have been pretty busy the last couple of weeks. To start off with some sad news, Balou, one of the guard dogs here at Aviarios was eaten by a crocodile last week during the night. He went down to drink from the lagoon and the croc was waiting for him - but plans are now in place for it to be relocated so hopefully it wont cause any more problems!

While talking of sad news, we've had 2 Sloth's die over the last 2 nights and both were completely unexpected. Firstly, one of the adult Choloepus - Topo Gigio - was found dead in his cage yesterday after having been off his food for a while. Then this morning, Dominique, one of the Bradypus babies was also found dead :( She was brought to the sanctuary after being found on the ground with a head injury and she had never fully recovered, but she had been doing well so it was a shock for everyone. The problem is that no reliable analysis has ever been done on Sloth blood, so tests would have been useless in detecting abnormalities. This is knowledge that would be so valuable for Aviarios, yet they don't have the expertise or equipment to do it themselves - hopefully we can look into getting some samples analysed at some point in the near future.

Another thing I am hoping to find out more about is the strange milk-like goo that is secreted from both the eyes and nose of the two-fingered Sloth's at seemingly random times. I have seen it happen in both males and females at various times of the day under various conditions - very odd. We came up with the idea that it could be associated with pheromones and communication, but this is now looking less likely. It seems to happen more often when it's windy or raining hard (which makes them act strangely anyway and become SUPER acive) - So the goo-ing could possibly be stress related? This was backed up yesterday while moving one of the Sloth's to a shiny new enclosure - The secretions started when he was moved but were re-absorbed once left alone....! I will let you know how things go with this sloth snot stuff :)

These new enclosures have just been completed and are very impressive - I have added some pictures of how they are looking! Although some modifications need to be done to make the trees a bit stronger etc. The harness plan for my devices is working a treat, although I had some trouble yesterday finding a sloth chubby enough to wear one of the bigger daily diaries on the harness without it sagging - it needs to be a tight fit! I managed it on attempt 3 though - unfortunatley attempy 2 involved poor Sid-Wiggy who has now resumed his sulk. I am yet to attempt the harness on a two-fingered, they are much less willing to be wrangled - it might require a little tranquiliser (or a tasty flower, who knows....)

Just to add to the drama this week, I got to test out the Costa Rican healthcare system on Thursday. This all started while I was in a deeeeeep sleep having a fairly odd dream about a cross between a sloth and an orangutan (Maybe I have spent too long sloth watching...) Anyway someone banging on the window by my head sent me flying out of bed in a panic - flinging my Orangu-sloth across the room in the process - giving me horrible chest pains. A local doctor gave me some pills to relax my muscles, but things just got worse so they decided to send me to hospital to get checked out. So 4 injections and countless pills later I was knocked out cold for several hours and woke up feeling fantastic!! I'm still not sure what was causing so much pain and it was fairly worrying but whatever they gave me in those injections worked a treat so I'm not complaining - although injections in the bum = VERY painful. I want to thank Luis and Judy for looking after me so well, they couldn't have done a better job :) And also the lovely doctor who's name I cant remember right now, but she did a brilliant job!

Well I found my first snake last night (yay) - It was only a baby but was VERY cool, much better than any spider! We have a new house full of volunteers this week who are all lovely (and mostly english which is a relief cos now I can stop saying garbage, trash and poop so much). Went into Cauhita for one of the girls birthdays last night and had an amazing meal which was nice. I've turned into a real Ray Means wannabe and wrapped her present up in a bannana leaf complete with vine and flower decorations - classy !

Anyway I hope you enjoy the pictures, they involve mostly sloths, devices, my new house and the brilliantly wrapped present!

Much love xxx


  1. I am so happy to of stumbled upon your blog. I look forward to reading more about your research and adventures with the sloths.

    I am sad to hear two were lost.


  2. Hi Bec
    Its alex here. So sad sad sad to hear about Topo. Was only looking after him a month ago.Hope that you are all doing OK. And also the sweet Dominique. Jenny will be heart broken as that was her special girl. Missing the sloth gang daily. So much I am watching the videos we took daily! Have bored everyone I can pin down with what an amazing experience our 2 weeks volunteering was. By the way sent email to Ursula but have not heard back. Wanted to see how she is doing and what the update with the croc was. Please pass on my hellos to all and I hope that the research is coming along in leaps and bounds. Kiss to all
    Alex and Frank xxx