Meet Fernando: Linne's two-toed sloth to make his debut at Phoenix Zoo soon

PHOENIX - The Phoenix Zoo has added a sloth to its animal collection -- its first, actually.

Fernando, also known as Fern, is a one 1/2-year-old Linne's two-toed sloth. He arrived at the zoo in November from the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland, according to Mary Yoder, the primate manager at the zoo.

"He has quickly become a staff favorite," said Yoder.

Yoder said after a year, sloths tend to become independent and leave their families. She said the zoo has been on a waiting list for a sloth through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan.

The Zoo said in a release that Fern "has settled in nicely" and is completing a mandatory 30-day quarantine which will wrap next week.

After that, he will be housed at the Forest of Uco with the zoo's white-faced saki monkey, golden lion tamarin, Geoffroy's marmoset, and a red-rumped agouti, the zoo said. He could be on display as early as next week.

Yoder said despite his name, toe-toed sloths actually have three toes, but two fingers on each hand. Three-toed sloths, for example, have three fingers and three toes, she said.

Fern typically sleeps 12 hours a day and is most active at night, she said. When he's out on exhibit, the 15-pound sloth will likely be sleeping in a tree or in his heated box.

"He's really, really laid back," she said.

Sloths mostly eat leaves and other vegetation, she said. Fern will also get a nutritional biscuit. "He loves them," said Yoder.

In perhaps a TMI (too much information) tidbit, sloths typically go to the bathroom every 4-8 days. For Fernando, he goes on Sundays. Yoder said sloths can even lose 30 percent of their body weight after going to the bathroom.

In September, the zoo welcomed its first giraffe calf in 12 years. Siku, which means "day" in Swahili, made her debut in October.

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