Orlando Science Center Sloth Swings In To Say Hi

Meet Lina! The Orlando Science Center sloth who will be hanging out with guests soon!

We are sooooooo excited to introduuuuuce you to one of our neeeeeeeewestt Animal Ambssssssssadors–Linaaaaaaa. To help you get to know Orlando Science Center's sloth, Lina, our Animal Handlers answered a few quick questions about this slow mover. 

 

What kind of sloth is Lina?

Lina is a Linneaus’ Two-toed Sloth. There are two groups of sloths, two-toed and three-toed. Both types have three claws, or ‘toes’, on their hind limbs. You could call the ‘two-toed’ sloth the ‘two-fingered’ sloth as the difference between them can be found on their front limbs.

How does Lina like Orlando Science Center? 

Lina loves her home and her Animal Handlers. She is great during her check-ups, will hold still while we put lotion on her feet or look in her ears and eyes. Self- care, or in this case, sloth-care is very important. She also is very interested in bright colors, and sometimes gets distracted in a room with bright green or red walls.

How can I meet Lina?

Lina has been helping us prepare for our all-new, state-of-the-art nature and conservation exhibit LIFE, which will open in 2022. She will live in the rainforest zone and hang around overhead for all Orlando Science Center guests to see when they visit. Until then, she will remain behind-the-scenes learning the ropes.

To help her get accustomed to being around all of our Members when the new exhibit opens, she will be participating in our Private Experiences NatureWorks tours as a special animal ambassador!

*Please note, animal well-being is our top priority, so if Lina does not want to participate in that day’s private experiences, our staff will select another exciting animal ambassador for you to meet!

Image of two-toed sloth at Orlando Science Center.

How much time does Lina spend hanging out? 

Sloths spend approximately 90% of their lives hanging upside down. As a result, sloths have evolved and their organs are also upside down! Because their organs are attached to their rib cage, they don’t weigh down on the lungs.

How slow is Lina?

The sloth’s nature allows it to conserve energy, moving slower than any other mammal on the planet. Sloths generally travel no more than 125 feet in a single day, and on the rare occasion that they find themselves at ground level, they crawl only one foot per minute. However, they can climb very quickly, and move up to three times faster when they swim! 

Zoo Awareness Month: How Modern Zoos Contribute to Conservation and Research

Bringing Zoo Awareness from the Past to the Present

June is Zoo and Aquariums Awareness month! Let’s take a look at the history of the first animal collections, where the modern zoo or aquarium is today, and why animals are kept in human care.

The earliest record of an animal collection was Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s collection in Egypt. It was common in ancient times for rulers across the world to give exotic animals, as gifts. For the most part, little effort went into the well-being of the animals. Slowly, information about how to care for these animals spread, and eventually exotic animal trainers and the first zookeepers began to emerge.

In the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, zoological gardens became more and more popular. Zoological gardens are any collection of animals that are kept for public viewing. Zoology developed into a field of science, and private collections slowly began to fade from popularity. The donations and ticket sales at zoological gardens partially funded the scientific research on the animal’s behavior, anatomy, breeding, and nutrition. In the United States, national parks were formed and laws were passed to preserve these natural areas.

A Look into the Modern Zoo

Not all Zoos and Aquariums are equal. Even though many scientific and technological advancements have helped the zoology field grow as a whole. There are millions of zoos worldwide, but there are many differences between them.

In fact, not even all animal collections are the same. Let’s look at some of the most common kinds of animal collections and zoological gardens there are.

  • Private Zoo – owned by an individual or organization, is open to the public usually by reservation only
  • Private Zoo (breeding facility) – owned by an organization or individual, the animals in this collection are bred for Species Survival Plans or for animals to go to other zoological facilities. May or may not be open to the public
  • For-profit Zoo – large or small, a zoo that is open to the public and profit comes from tickets sales, events, or outreach programs
  • Non-for-profit Zoo – has programs in place to benefit the animals, the community, and education, does not earn profit from ticket sales or outreach programs, receives local and federal funding
  • Exotic Animal Sanctuary – owned by an individual or organization, does not buy or breed animals, only receives animals that cannot go to zoos or be released out in nature for medical or behavioral reasons
  • Private animal collection – an animal collection that is not open to the public, is up to the individual whether animals breed or what animals are bought, is for personal fulfillment not educating the public or contributing to conservation efforts

There are many advisory boards and accreditation associations in the United States, and globally that oversee how zoos and aquariums are maintained, and help ensure that animals in these facilities are treated humanely. 

OSC is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to science learning for life, and we’re lucky to be a science learning center with live animals. Our animal ambassadors help people learn about nature and wildlife and hopefully inspire people to make small changes in their life that will have huge positive impacts on natural habitats. The variety of animals at the science center helps people see the issues some animals encounter in the wild like deforestation, poaching, and pollution.

 

The next time you visit the Orlando Science Center, or any animal facility, ask the staff members and volunteers questions. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • How is the animal exhibit similar to the natural habitat of this species?
  • Does this animal have a favorite food?
  • What conservation efforts is the zoo involved in?
  • What is animal enrichment?
  • What are some threats facing this animal in the wild?
Zoo Awareness- an old zoo

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10 Ribbiting Facts About Frogs

March 20th is World Frog Day!

Did you know our NatureWorks exhibit is home to several different species of frogs? For instance, Frogzilla (pictured above), an invasive Cuban Tree Frog is just one of many frogs you can meet and learn about in NatureWorks. 

 

In celebration of these hoppy creatures, here are 10 ribbiting facts about frogs! 

 

  1. American Bullfrogs can leap up to six feet!
  2. In the wild, a Poison dart frog’s toxin is created from their diet.
  3. Smokey jungle frogs can make a variety of different calls depending on their mood. They make a melodic sound when courting, but when threatened they will make a loud scream to distract predators.
  4. Unlike many species of frogs, Lemur frogs can bask in the sun for extended periods without drying out.
  5. Amazon milk frogs are named for the poisonous, milky-white fluid that they secret when threatened.
  6. Though the Golden poison dart frog is deadly if eaten, its natural predator, the Fire-bellied snake, has developed a resistance to the frog’s poison.
  7. Despite their name, Canyon tree frogs prefer to perch on boulders and rocks close to water rather than trees.
  8. American bullfrogs are the largest of all North American frogs. They can grow to be eight inches long and can weigh up to one and a half pounds.
  9. Lemur frogs can change color! When they are active, mostly at night, their upper parts turn brown. When they are resting, they turn green to blend in with the leaves that they sleep on.
  10. Milk frogs are some of the best climbers in the Amazon. They use their specially adapted toe pads to cling to branches.

 

Be sure to stop by and say hello to Frogzilla and all the other wonderful creatures that live in NatureWorks on your next visit to Orlando Science Center!