A ZOO has welcomed the birth of a baby sloth.

Keepers at Drusillas Zoo Park, near Alfriston, “couldn’t believe their eyes” when resident sloth Halina emerged with a baby.

Upon discovering the baby on November 29, the zookeepers jumped into action, tending for the baby – the second sloth to be born at the zoo.

Following the new arrival, Drusillas Zoo Park now boasts five Linne’s two-toed sloths, including six-year-old Flash, who was hand-reared by the park’s resident sloth specialists Mark Kenward and Gemma Romanis.

The Argus: Drusillas zoo welcomes birth of baby sloth Drusillas zoo welcomes birth of baby sloth

Zoo animal manager Mark said keepers must always be prepared for the birth of infants, as it can happen at any time.

“Gemma and I remained at the zoo late into the night to make sure everything was moving in the right direction, with this being Halina’s first born,” he said.

“Whilst baby and mum looked very healthy, the baby on occasion got a little confused and would climb onto dad Sophocles, remaining attached to him for a number of hours.

“Male sloths don’t usually have anything to do with the rearing of young and wouldn’t normally take too kindly to an infant climbing all over them.

Sophocles however was amazing and accepted the baby happily, giving Halina the chance to rest - but we did need to get the baby back to Halina to begin feeding.”

The Argus: Drusillas zoo welcomes birth of baby sloth Drusillas zoo welcomes birth of baby sloth

The keepers removed the baby from its father and placed it back with Halina. They also weighed and checked the gender of the baby.

“Halina and the baby - which we now believe to be a female - have been closely monitored ever since. The baby has been feeding really well and received the all-important colostrum from mum,” Mark added.

Head keeper Gemma Romanis said sloths don’t always present a pregnant abdomen as with most mammal species, as they have 47 ribs that encase their bodies.

“We are absolutely thrilled to bits to share this exciting news with you all, the new arrival is something we are immensely proud of as a team,” she said.

“Baby seems to be thriving under the careful watch of our keepers, and is doing everything she should be at this stage.

“Halina is being wonderfully attentive, and considering this is her first baby, it seems to have all come very naturally to her.”