Inside America's Fascination With Sloths, and Why They Should Probably Be Left Alone
For a price, you can have a sloth entertain at a birthday party, but one wildlife expert believes they should remain in the wild.
Everyone seems to be fascinated with sloths. The slow moving animals native to Central and South America are one of the most popular animals at zoos. They have even been featured in Disney movies and Geico commercials.
Actress Kristen Bell’s encounter with a sloth went viral when her husband, Dax Shepard, surprised her by bringing one to her birthday party.
But getting up close and personal with a sloth isn’t cheap. Inside Edition’s Chief Investigative Correspondent Lisa Guerrero went to
Florida to see sloths at the Zoological Wildlife Foundation of Miami. She paid $120 for a 15-minute encounter to pet and feed a sloth.
For $300, you can have a sloth sleepover in Oregon; and for $500, you can have one at your birthday party for an hour.
But what's it like to have a sloth as a pet?
The slow-moving creatures are notoriously difficult to care for.
They must live in a rainforest environment, meaning a temperature of 80 to 90 degrees at all times. They also need a habitat where they can hang upside down. Another issue is that very few veterinarians know how to treat them.
One owner, who had a pet sloth named Kiwi, got so frustrated he gave it away to an animal sanctuary.
Tim Harrison, director of Outreach For Animals, is concerned about America’s fascination with sloths. He believes they should be left alone in the wild where they live solitary lives on the tops of trees.
“If you just looked in a book that said, 'What would make a good pet?' This would be right down at the bottom of the list,” he told Inside Edition.
Harrison is horrified by a recent video that shows a defenseless sloth clinging to the top of a tree as it was cut down by poachers in South America. The sloth was captured and stuffed into a canvas bag to be sold.
“Sloths happen to be a hot animal right now. They are absolutely adorable, but man, there is no reason for them to be here,” Harrison said.
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