Sloth Baby Debut at the Cincinnati Zoo Slow Due to Mom’s Health

Posted July 25, 2023

Vets continue to monitor Lightning after two postpartum hospital visits   

CINCINNATI, OH (July 25, 2023) — Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden visitors will have to wait a little longer to see Juno, the Linne’s two-toed sloth that was born on June 7. Mom, 10-year-old Lightning, is being treated by the Zoo’s veterinary staff for health issues related to postpartum recovery and will be moved to the Animal Ambassador Center (AAC) once those have been resolved.

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“Juno is doing great, but we want to make sure that Lightning is in good health before we move the pair,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s manager of ambassador animals Julie Grove. “About a week after she gave birth, vets treated her for an infection caused by a retained placenta.  She recovered well from that but has not been 100% herself.  Her appetite has been off recently, so the vet staff did another full exam on her yesterday.”

Because the antibiotics used to eradicate her infection can be hard on the gastrointestinal system, the vet team focused on that during the exam. They looked at her esophagus and mouth and put a scope down into her stomach to look for any redness, irritation, or ulcerations that could explain why she hasn’t been eating well.

“The good news was we didn’t find anything majorly concerning,” said Cincinnati Zoo veterinarian Dr. Jessica Heinz. “We did do a little bit of teeth work on her, and everything looks good. So, we’re going to give her some supportive medications for her gastrointestinal tract and hopefully that’s going to get her back on the right track.”

While mom was receiving medical attention, Juno got a much-needed bath and some extra TLC from the sloth team.

Juno’s sex is not yet known, and it may be some time before that is determined. It is difficult to identify the gender of a sloth and often requires DNA testing to know for sure!

If Lightning continues to improve, visitors will get to see mom and baby through the AAC windows soon.  Moe, Juno’s dad, is visible in Discovery Forest. Follow @CincinnatiZoo on social media to see sloth updates and some awesome new baby pics (taken post bath yesterday).

The Zoo opens daily at 10 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. Cincinnati Zoo members enjoy early entry at 9 a.m.  DID YOU KNOW…. You pay more than $10 less per ticket, on select days, when you purchase tickets online!  That’s a $40 savings for a family of 4! For more information visit