New sloth exhibit opens at Indianapolis Zoo

Posted at 3:45 AM, May 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-28 03:46:01-04

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (FOX 59) – We all know someone who’s life consists of sleeping and eating. Add hanging out in trees all day, and you have the newest member of the Indianapolis Zoo!

Quinto is the zoo’s first sloth, and he lives a pretty good life.

“Quinto is 15-years-old,” said Quinto’s keeper Jessie Myers. “He loves lettuce, that’s one of his favorite foods. Pretty laid back and relaxed, he just hangs out in his basket all day.”

What a life, right? Quinto came from a different zoo in the U.S. where he was part of SSP, the Species Survival Program. At his new home in Indy, he pretty much spends most of the time lounging and eating. He doesn’t like to move much, but that’s normal for sloths. They sleep for 10 to 20 hours a day!

Quinto is a special kind of sloth though. In fact, zoo keepers refer to him as, “A very lazy sloth—the laziest of the sloths,” said Myers. “He doesn’t like to move very much, he would prefer us to move him for him.”

Another interesting fact: “They only use the bathroom once a week, and that’s the only time that they would go to the ground,” said Myers. “So, the rest of the time they’re going to stay up high in the trees where they’re safe, away from predators.”

Another fun fact—sloths are great swimmers! “They can use waterways to travel to different areas,” said Myers. “They can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes because their metabolic rates are so low.”

But Quinto isn’t just here for fun, he’s got a job too. He’s going to raise awareness and inspire people to care for sloths and also their habitat in the wild.

“In the wild, they’re losing their forest, whether it’s to put in new roads, different things like that, and their habitat is getting fragmented,” said Myers. “That forces them to go down to the ground and have to cross busy streets where they could risk getting hit by a car.”

“They’re also having to use powerlines to get from one side to the other, where they have a risk of getting electrocuted,” Myers continued. “So, if we can keep their forests healthy then we’ll be able to keep this species healthy as well.”

That’s what Quinto is at the Indianapolis Zoo for.

“One main threat that they have is deforestation,” said Myers. “So, if they’re losing their homes in the wild, their numbers are going to start to decrease.”

The zoo wants you to take a selfie with Quinto and the sloths. Post it on social media with #IndySlothie. When you do, you’re letting everyone know that you’re making a commitment to using forest certified products to help preserve the sloths’ natural habitat. Those products are more sustainable and will keep the forests healthy for all of the animals living in them.

For a list of FSC certified products, click here.

While the sloths are of “least concern” status, zoo keepers say that doesn’t mean they don’t need help now.

“It’s important just to keep the numbers up and keep the genetics strong in captivity, just so we can keep their species going,” said Myers. “We’re just trying to be proactive and make sure that we keep their numbers high before it becomes an issue.”

You’ll be able to meet Quinto and the other sloths at the Indianapolis Zoo on Memorial Day weekend.