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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Zoo Opens Retirement Home for Older Sloths To Live Out Their Final Years in Comfort

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Folly Farm in Pembrokeshire, Wales, is home to a variety of critters, great and small. They have all the animals you’d think of when you imagine a farm as well as plenty of exotic animals you’d see in a zoo.

“We’ve always been farmers, but we’re much more than a farm,” according to their Facebook page. “You can visit over 750 animals at our zoo, and get up close to furry and feathery farmyard friends in our barn.”

“Choose from 16 different rides in our vintage fairground, or enjoy our eight adventure play areas. We’ve got 120 acres of fun so there really is something for everyone!”

Recently, they’ve made the decision to become a retirement home for a very special sort of animal: sloths.

Just like every other critter, sloths need a comfortable retirement. They tend to live a lot longer in captivity than in the wild, so they are looking at potentially decades of care, which Folly Farm has stepped up to provide.

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“Initially we didn’t make a conscious decision to home older sloths,” zoo curator Tim Morphew said, according to their website. “Conservation is key for us at Folly Farm and our breeding programmes are a huge part of that, but our older animals are just as important to us and we need to make sure they’re looked after in their old age.”

“By taking on these older animals and giving them a comfortable retirement, we’re helping conservation efforts at other zoos by freeing up enclosures for younger, breeding pairs.”

The farm/zoo is prepared to make concessions for these elderly sloths, making sure they’re getting the proper care and nutrition their age requires.

“Aching muscles, creaking joints and slowing down a bit are all things that happen to us as we get older, and most animals are no different,” Morphew said. “With the older sloths, we might boil their root vegetables to make them softer and easier to eat and, if they’re showing signs of old age, add supplements like cod liver oil into their diet.”

“Depending on how they get on, we might also look at adapting the enclosure to make the floor deeper and reduce the height of branches, so they don’t have as far to climb down.”

Their current residents include Tuppee and Lightcap, who is a new addition and should provide companionship for Tuppee.

“Like many older men, Tuppee has been known to be a bit grumpy and even misbehaves at times but we know he’s a softie at heart. We’re hoping some older, female company will be a good influence on him and bring out the softer side of his nature,” Morphew said.

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“Sloths aren’t known for being social animals, but as they get older we’ve found they do like company. So, we’re all looking forward to getting to know Lightcap and seeing how the pair get on.”

“Sloths are our number one animal for adoptions, so with Lightcap joining us just before Christmas we’re sure our sloth adoptions will prove a popular — and unusual — Christmas present this year,” Morphew added. ” And, who knows, soon we may even be in a position to expand the retirement home further.”

Based on the photo and video evidence, these two have been getting on like two peas in a pod, and it seems that they enjoy — or at least tolerate — each other.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking