A Sloth’s Journey - Part One

Written By:Vince Covino

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A Sloth's Journey - Part One

One of the most unique and fascinating creatures on our planet, the Sloth has grown in popularity as a “favorite” among animal lovers. And at our Folsom SeaQuest our gentle and loving two-toed sloth, Perry, is more than just a favorite. She and her baby, Sydney, have come a long way since they first arrived here. This has been a tough year for most everyone, but Perry’s journey to becoming a new mom and her postpartum experience will tug at anyone’s heartstrings.

We began to notice Perry had been gaining weight…

In September of 2019, our animal care team became a bit concerned when they saw that Perry was putting on some extra weight, despite her very controlled diet. At the time, our Vet felt it was normal and that Perry may need more exercise. As months progressed, we just knew something was not right. Then on December 30th, our morning team was making their rounds and saw something in Perry’s exhibit that shouldn’t be there. In the middle of the night, a new baby sloth was born! We named the baby Sydney, in honor of the fires that were ravaging Australia at the time. It turns out Perry had been pregnant all along, and our former Vet wasn’t aware. Wanting to get the best health care for Perry and baby Sydney, we immediately sought new veterinary services – and found Dr. Samantha Ford, who was a wonderful addition to our SeaQuest family.

New mama sloth Perry (left), and baby sloth Sydney (right)

She couldn’t move her legs or grip onto anything….

Months later, SeaQuest Folsom was closed due to the CoVid 19 shutdown across the country. Again, during a morning check, we saw Perry up in her basket with little Sydney, but she didn’t look quite right. Her eyes seemed glossed over, her arms were flailing and she couldn’t move on her own at all. We immediately called Dr. Ford, who rushed over to do an examination. When she arrived, Perry was distressed but Dr. Ford gave her fluids and vitamins. With little outward signs of injury, Dr. Ford felt the best thing would be to take Perry and baby Sydney to the clinic for observation for the next few days. In case something were to happen, she would have immediate medical care.

Perry in surgery

We had little hope that she would survive….

That week Perry’s condition worsened and the outlook was grim. Dr. Ford was very concerned about her disorientation, inability to eat, and severe lethargy. She began to have minor tremors in her muscles (no seizures, thankfully) but no grip in her hands, and within days no movement in her limbs.  We were so worried we would lose her. Dr. Ford said the only option to give any chance for survival would be to give Perry a feeding tube. Typically, these types of surgeries for animals like Perry are extremely risky. We had little hope she would survive just the anesthesia. However, we learned she did great! Perry’s long road ahead with a feeding tube would be hard for her, for little baby Sydney, and for her SeaQuest family who were desperately hoping both mommy and baby would be back home soon. Stay tuned for Part Two!

Perry recovering at the vet clinic
Perry after her feeding tube surgery.

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