Linne’s two-toed sloth SSP

Linne’s two-toed sloths, sometimes referred to as southern two-toed sloths, have been continually exhibited in North American zoos since 1920. The population had initally grown due to imports and subsequently by reproduction, which started in the 1970’s. Over the past 30 years, the Linne’s two-toed sloth population showed an overall trend of positive growth (average of 2.7%); over the past five years growth has been approximately 4%.

According to studbook records, both males and females have reproduced as young as 1-2 years old and up to 32 year for males and 37 years for females. Both sexes of this species can live into their late 30’s, although the oldest animal in the population is a female who is 48 years of age. Infant mortality for the first year of life for males is 33% and for females is 27%.

The current Linne’s two-toed sloth population consists of 119 animals (48 males, 67 females, and 4 unknown sex) at 63 institutions. The PAX TAG’s 2009 Regional Collection Plan proposed a target population size of 150 for this population, which is managed as a Yellow SSP program. At least eight to nine births are necessary to keep the population stable at its current size. The AZA population had an average of five births per year over the past ten years.

As with the Hoffman’s two-toed sloth, this species can be difficult to sex. Confusion over distinguishing the two two-toed sloth species from one another has also been prevalent. DNA testing is recommended to resolve any remaining species (as well as pedigree) questions– counting neck vertebrae and photo identification are not reliable methods for species determination.

  • Contact the SSP Coordinator for information regarding genetic testing procedures and labs.
  • Please inform the SSP Coordinator/Studbook Keeper of genetic testing results.
  • Institutions wishing to receive (or place animals) should contact the SSP Coordinator for guidance.
  • The SSP can also recommend sources for acquiring sloths. Animals should not be transferred before first discussing with the SSP Coordinator. It must be ensured that the best moves and pairings are carried out in order to achieve demographic stability and genetic health for the population into the future.

After logging into the AZA website, members can view the Breeding and Transfer Plan via the link on the page that follows:

AZA Animal Program: Linne’s Two-toed Sloth SSP


Husbandry Resources:

Minnesota Zoo Sloth Workshop Paper


Minnesota Zoo Diet Sloth f-12714

Minnesota Zoo Diet Sloth F-12847Lilly

Minnesota Zoo Diet Sloth M-12064


Minnesota Zoo nipple for sloth
Nipple used for hand-rearing infant sloth

Minnesota Zoo Choloepus handrearing (Arroyo)

San Antonio Zoo Sloth rearing notes A07012