Meet the London Zoo's New Baby Sloth

Truffle has been exploring his world, clinging to his mom.

Truffle the baby sloth clings to its mother
The newborn sloth clings to its mother.

 Sheila Smith / ZSL London Zoo

There's a tiny new addition at the ZSL London Zoo. A baby two-toed sloth named Truffle was born at the facility in mid-August. The first photos of the new arrival show a wide-eyed baby clinging to its mom, Marilyn.

Keepers spotted the small baby one morning as it was holding on to its mother. Marilyn had delivered a few weeks earlier than expected.

“We knew Marilyn was coming to the end of her pregnancy, but thought she had a little longer to go as we’d not seen any of her usual tell-tale signs — such as heading to a cozy corner or off-show area for privacy," the zoo's sloth keeper Marcel McKinley said in a release.

Dad is Marilyn's long-time mate, Leander.

"This is Marilyn and Leander’s fifth baby, so she had clearly taken it all in her stride, giving us a lovely surprise to wake up to," McKinley said.

Mom and baby spent the first few days high in their habitat's leafy rainforest. After a while, Marilyn took the baby exploring and keepers were able to get a closer look. Keepers won't know the baby's sex until they have a chance to analyze a sample of its DNA.

Truffle the baby sloth
 ZSL London Zoo

“Sloths have a long gestation period so the infants are physically well-developed when they’re born and able to eat solid food right away,” said Marcel. “At 3-weeks-old, Marilyn’s little one is already very inquisitive, constantly using its nose to sniff around for snacks — which is why we gave it the name Truffle.”

The two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus) lives in the tree canopies of the tropical forests of Central and South America. Sloths are considered some of the slowest animals in the world. The nocturnal mammals have long, curved, sharp claws that are 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 centimeters) long. Those claws help them hang on to tree branches, but make walking very difficult. That's why they spend so much time in trees.

Sloths are also very strong swimmers with a sleek body and thick coat that helps them quickly get through the water, according to the University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web. They often spend as long as 15 hours a day sleeping.

Truffle and Marilyn sloths in tree
Marilyn holds baby Truffle high in the trees of their rainforest exhibit. Sheila Smith / ZSL London Zoo

Truffle and Marilyn live in the zoo's rainforest exhibit along with titi monkeys, tree anteaters, emperor tamarin monkeys, and red-forest tortoises. The zoo is currently open with limited admission.