I lost a sloth today. Not a joke. Literally lost a sloth. They can only crawl 15 feet a minute, and yet I managed to let one escape. Sundays at the Center there are no tours, we still have the same routine with the animals as a normal day, but with no rush to get things done.
The morning started as usual, we cleaned cages, fed animals – actually, no it didn’t, a horse got let out. One of the girls forgot to close the gate and the giant horse is running around the backyard. The other horse still inside the gate was also running around like crazy, maybe wondering how her friend got out? There was a little chaos until he found his way into the garden and was fed some leaves and led back into the horse area.
I was on teenager sloth duty today, so I had four medium sized sloths to watch after. It’s really only one, because the other three are lazy sloths and crawl onto the top of the monkey house (where there is a bed, chair and day bed with blankets waiting for them to snuggle on) they immediately fall asleep and don’t wake up until we come get them.
That leaves me with Couer (or Corey). My favorite three-toed sloth. He has a skin infections right now so he has to stay in a tiny house at night, which means during the day he is super active. I start him on a row of long, low branches, he climbs across them all, I pick him up and start him again. Sometimes we cuddle. Sometimes I feed him leaves. It usually takes him 20-30 minutes to climb across the row of bushes, and I read my book in between pickups.
There was a Canadian family who came today that wanted to film some stuff to make a documentary about the JRC, so I led them up the ladder above the monkey house to check out the lazy bums snoozin’ up there. We got to chatting about anything and everything, they were really nice and fascinating, and by the time I came down Couer was nowhere to found. I looked everywhere. I recruited three other girls to look everywhere.
This wouldn’t have been a big deal if it were any of the older sloths, they are free to stay out at night if they wish, or venture out into the jungle and never return, but since most of them are afraid of heights, they don’t do that. Couer is too young to leave yet and needs his daily medicine to fix the skin infections. So I was dreading telling the owner I couldn’t find precious Couer (she recently had to put an injured monkey to sleep and these animals are like her children. Are her children. )
When we were about to give up hope and go tell someone, a girl finally spotted him in a tree on the edge of property. He had climbed down his branches, across the horse yard, onto a limb that had snapped off a tree, and was hanging onto the middle. We thought it we showed him we were there he would start to climb down, but it only fueled his teenage rebellion, he climbed to the very top of this skinny tree, and even onto to branches that almost snapped below him. We were cringing from the bottom the entire time. I am so relieved (and lucky) that he picked the one tree that doesn’t have branches to other trees, otherwise he could have just climbed and climbed into the forest forever.
Eventually, he started to climb down, we put a ladder up, and I climbed up to get him. Unluckily, he picked the one tree that had thorns for bark, and thick vine with huge leaves preventing me from getting Couer unhooked and into my arms. (Not to mention I’m terrified of heights, on a shaky ladder, and there are bugs and ants and creatures climbing all over this tree). I start grabbing at leaves and vines, and Couers limbs, and yank him down and place him on my chest so that I can climb down the ladder with two hands. Of course he choose this one time to not hold on, and when I let go, he’s only holding on with his bottom two feet, so he flips upside down and lands on a ladder step. (He’s fine… I think.) Lift him up, make sure he latches his claws on, now I can climb down. I put him straight inside his cage, give him new leaves, and pray that the owner never finds out about this.
I have lots more updates to share, just not enough internet juice. So three pictures will have to suffice for tonight.
To read about the rest of the trip, click below.