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Meet The Cincinnati Zoo's Pregnant Sloth

Ann Thompson
'Lightning' the sloth's favorite place to be is in this bucket. By hanging, sloths exert zero energy.

"Lightning" the pregnant sloth is a bit of a contradiction. The Cincinnati Zoo mammal can be feisty, and with changing hormone levels, doesn't want anything to do with her mate "Moe."

Twenty-one-year-old Moe has waited a long time for offspring. His first girlfriend died, and for the past two years he's been trying to get close to seven-year-old Lightning.

Their romantic rendezvous finally occurred, and pup No. 1 is on the way. The Zoo's Animal Team Leader Sarah Swanson blushed as she described their encounter. "There's a lot of sniffing and smelling and scent marking and they actually will kiss each other with their tongues and get a little frisky."

An ultrasound indicates that the pup is due in September or October and may be born in a bucket. This is Lightning's favorite place to hang out.

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
Lightning's pup may be born in this bucket where she likes to hang out. It's due in September or October.

Little know facts about sloths:

  • They're comfortable in water.
  • Besides eating fruit and leaves, the zoo sloths like hard boiled eggs and corn on the cobb.
  • Pups weight less than a half pound.
  • They only go to the bathroom once a week.
  • They exert zero energy when hanging.

https://vimeo.com/521624979" target="_blank">Watch a video of Lightning here.

https://vimeo.com/521742715">Lightning the Sloth at the Cincinnati Zoo from https://vimeo.com/user104126899">Ronny Salerno on Vimeo.

Lightning's personality is on the assertive side. "Sloths get this connotation that they're slow and that they kind of ball up a lot and just stay sedentary, but they can be very active," says Curator of Ambassador Animals Meredith Hughes. "And when a sloth wants to share that they don't want someone in their space, they can slash and move very quickly."

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
Then Curator of Ambassador Animals Meredith Hughes and Interpretive Animal Team Leader Sarah Swanson.