Bristol Zoo shows baby sloth ahead of public unveiling

Sid was born at the zoo as part of a European breeding programme

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A baby sloth has been unveiled for the first time at Bristol Zoo, despite not yet being on show to the public.

Five-week-old Sidone, or Sid, is being cared for by keepers after her mother, Light Cap, became ill after birth.

The youngster, who is named after the sloth in the Ice Age movies, only weighed about 500g (1.1lb) when born and she is too small to be viewed.

Sid is a Linne's two-toed sloth and Bristol Zoo is part of a European breeding programme for the species.

Staff at the zoo believe that Sid is a girl, however sloths are very difficult to sex.

They have released pictures of the baby and have allowed television cameras in to film her for the first time.

Bristol Zoo's Rob Rouse said: "Four keepers have been intensively caring for Sid since she was three days old and we're thrilled that she is doing so well.

"She is strong, healthy and very inquisitive, and she loves people."

Breeding female

Sidone's mother has made a full recovery but she was no longer producing enough milk to feed her baby, so Sid is hand-fed every three to four hours with a combination of puppy milk formula and goat's milk.

She is also starting to eat solids, such as sweet potatoes and green beans.

"Hand-rearing any animal is hard work and very tiring, particularly in the first few weeks, but seeing how well she is developing certainly makes it all worthwhile," Mr Rouse said.

"Sid's care will take some time; sloths develop very slowly.

"We can't say when she'll be on show but the hope is eventually she'll go into a breeding programme either here or elsewhere."

Linne's two-toed sloths are native to South America and they are closely related to armadillos and anteaters.

Sloths are hunted as food and for their claws and fur, which are used to make necklaces and saddlecloths.

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