Recued fruit bats move in with Mo the sloth
Things are looking up for two species that spend most of their time upside down. Five African straw-colored fruit bats have joined a Linne’s two-toed sloth called Molasses, known simply as Mo, in The Hangout at the Detroit Zoo. The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) rescued all six animals, along with 55 others, when Bat Zone in Pontiac closed suddenly in February of last year.
“Mo appears to be taking his new roommates in stride, and the bats seem to be acclimating well to their new, larger environment,” said Scott Carter, DZS chief life sciences officer.
The Hangout – located near the snow monkeys and white rhinos – features plants, an aerial network of grapevines, a stream, skylights and a tree where Mo spends much of his time napping.
In addition to the sloth and straw-colored fruit bats, the DZS is providing sanctuary to bats of two other species from Bat Zone – short-tailed fruit bats and Jamaican fruit bats – as well as five southern flying squirrels and a Cranwell’s horned frog, all of whom are being cared for behind the scenes at the Detroit Zoo.
“We are happy be able to offer a great home to these animals and ensure their lifetime care,” Carter said.
African straw-colored fruit bats (Eidolon helvum) – listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature – are the second-largest species of African fruit bat. They weigh 8 to 12 ounces, with bodies that measure between 5 and 8 inches. These flying mammals are yellowish-brown to tawny on their necks and backs, with olive to brown on their undersides. They have pointed heads, large cheeks with pouches to store food, and large eyes and ears. Their long, tapered wings are black, ending in a pointed tip, and their wingspan can be an impressive 30 inches or greater.
Linne’s two-toed sloths (Choloepus didactylus) are native to the rainforests of South America. Adults like Mo grow to an average length of more than 2 feet and weigh up to 20 pounds. Sloths have flat heads, big eyes, short snouts, small ears and short limbs with two curved claws. In the wild, their long, coarse, brown or tan fur can sometimes appear greenish due to algae that can grow in their coat. Known as the world’s slowest mammal, sloths crawl at a top speed of less than one-tenth of a mile per hour and sleep 15 hours a day hanging upside down.
The Detroit Zoological Society – a renowned leader in humane education, wildlife conservation, animal welfare and environmental sustainability – operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center. With an annual regional economic impact of more than $167 million, the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak is one of Michigan’s largest paid family attractions, hosting more than 1.3 million visitors annually. Its 125 acres of award-winning naturalistic habitats are home to 2,400 animals representing 235 species. The Belle Isle Nature Center sits on a 5-acre site surrounded by undisturbed forested wetlands on Belle Isle State Park in Detroit. It provides year-round educational, recreational and environmental conservation opportunities for the community. For hours, prices, directions and other information, call (248) 541-5717 or visit detroitzoo.org.
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