Sunday, 13 February 2011

Sloth research fundraiser !!!

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  1. Hi Becky, A sloth will be coming to us for educational programs here in the US. It will be from a zoo in Guyana on a diet of beef and rice. could you tell me what diet you have the sloths on in Costa Rica, and how you suggest to ween them onto something else. (I don't think beef and rice is a good diet for sloths). Have you heard of the Mazuri Leaf Eaters diet? Is there something you would recommend? We will be getting a two toed sloth, so it may be somewhat different in it's nutritional needs. But any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

  2. Hi Julia,

    No a diet of rice and beef is definately not good - we used to think that they ate bird eggs / insects in the wild but we now believe this to be false.

    We have 127 two-fingered sloths here and they all do very well off the diet we give them - they get green beans and berros in the morning, sometimes with Almond leaves since these are the only non toixic leaf we KNOW they feed from in the wild. In the afternoon they get a plate with cooked carrots, cooked sweet potato and dog food soaked in water. This is in no way a natural diet but it gives them all the nutrients they need to be happy and healthy :-)

    I can't reccomend the Leaf Eaters diet since sloths are just so complex in their dietry needs and digestion. I can now tell you that it takes a huge 27 days for the digestion of 1 meal, so if you do feed your sloth on this, you will only know if it is ok in a months time. (Which is a slight problem since it could be too late by then to change it - thats a big problem we face with any treatment we have to give them - any internal medication is always a disaster).

    The biggest problem you might face is the fact that we think an adult sloth will only ever feed from the foods it was raised on during its first year. This is the reason we have such trouble releasing our hand raised babies. I can only suggest you make the diet transition gradually since our sloths tend to go on hunger strikes and they can be super stubborn !! Oh and here is a tip - Hibiscus flowers are like sloth chocolate and are completely safe :-)

    If you would like any more info then feel free to email either me or the sanctuary address (Judy would be more than happy to help and she it THE expert on the subject!) But I hope all goes well.

    All the best and sorry for the delay in replying...