They don’t have mommies to teach them how to climb, but that’s not slowing down these baby sloths.
The sloths live at the Toucan Rescue Ranch, a wildlife sanctuary in Costa Rica that cares for sick, injured, or orphaned animals, from toucans to owls to spider monkeys.
The sloths were left on their own after their mothers were killed, although it is not known whether they were killed by hunters. According to zoologist and video producer Lucy Cooke, sloths frequently die because they are attacked by dogs or hit by cars.
The Rescue Ranch has developed an innovative way to teach the infant sloths how to climb — by placing the animals on rocking chairs during the day.
“It’s very important if you’re a sloth to know how to climb a tree,” Cooke states during the video. Indeed, sloths spend most of their life in trees, eating leaves and only going down to the ground about once a week, in order to urinate and defecate.
The Rescue Ranch method works because as the baby sloths practice climbing, the rocking chair moves back and forth, imitating the motion of a tree branch swaying in the wind.
Not all the sloths enjoy climbing to the top of the chair, however. Baby Marley, a three-fingered sloth named after the famous reggae singer because he’s so “mellow,” prefers to climb to the bottom of the chair and rock himself to sleep.
“He’s not really doing a whole lot of exercise — he’s doing a lot more resting,” Cooke says in the video.
In some ways, that’s expected from a sloth — they sleep between 15 to 20 hours a day.
The footage also shows a pair of baby two-toed sloths, named Latte and Mocha. Basically, they’re cute enough to send “Frozen” star Kristen Bell into sloth-induced cardiac arrest.
However, Cooke warns against keeping sloths as pets. They may look cute, but they can be surprisingly fierce.
“You really wouldn’t want to have one as a pet, because Mocha, for instance, looks really cute, but he is really aggressive and he likes to bite,” Cooke says. “So yeah, it is not appropriate.”
Learn more about the Toucan Rescue Ranch and the animals they help here.