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Meet The Cincinnati Zoo's Pregnant Sloth

sloth1.jpg
Ann Thompson
/
WVXU
'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.

sloth
Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
/
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."

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

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.