Sloth gives birth in a tree, baby ‘bungee jumps’ with umbilical cord

This is definitely not something you see every day.

Despite a sloth‘s typically slow nature, one mother sloth had to react fast when her baby was born upside-down in a tree late last month.

A tour group in Costa Rica happened upon the moment the baby sloth was born. Tour guide Steven Vela caught the heart-stopping birth on camera and shared it on his Facebook page.

The group stopped and watched as a brown-throated sloth birthed her baby, which fell and dangled from its umbilical cord before she scooped it up and placed it on her belly.

It’s incredibly rare for anyone to spot a three-fingered sloth giving birth, Rebecca Cliffe, founder of the Sloth Conservation Foundation in Costa Rica, told CNN.

“Sloths are secretive animals that live high in the rainforest canopy and specialize in camouflage,” she said. “To just see one in the wild is lucky, but to observe one giving birth out in the open is very special.”

Cliffe, who has worked with sloths for over a decade, has only seen one birth similar to this one, in 2013, during which the baby was also saved by its umbilical cord.

“I don’t think it happens in every case,” Cliffe told National Geographic. “But I suspect it’s quite common and doesn’t really cause a problem. Just makes everyone watching a little nervous.”

Typically, she added, the mother is waiting with its arms out to catch the baby.

Vela has been a tour guide with Canoa Adventura in La Fortuna for eight years, CNN reports — and he’s never seen anything like it.

“I could not believe what I was seeing. I was super excited,” he said. “We were at the right moment and at the right time. I guess I will never see anything like that again.”

The internet has been taken by the video, as well. The Facebook post now boasts 6,200 comments, 40,000 shares and 12,000 reactions.

“I hope you think of this when you deliver my nephew this week,” one Facebook user joked in the comment section.

Another commented: “Thank God for that umbilical cord.”

“That’s the fastest it will ever be,” one person pointed out.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca


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