A rare video of a sloth giving birth has scientists thrilled. Here’s why

When Steven Vela, a tour guide in Costa Rica, spotted a brown-throated sloth up in a tree near La Fortuna, he had no idea the animal was in the late stages of labor—or of the drama that would unfold next.

With the camera rolling, the sloth gives birth to its baby, but seconds later the baby slips out from its mother’s grasp. But instead of plummeting to the forest floor below, the baby dangled from its umbilical cord, prompting gasps from the newly gathered group of onlookers.

Perhaps surprising for the world’s slowest mammal, the mother then promptly reached down and hugged the baby against her body, licking her newborn clean. Vela claims he will “never see something like that again”, and he’s probably right.

Witnessing a sloth give birth is extremely rare, especially with regards to the three-toed sloth. For starters, sloths are secretive and sedentary creatures, almost always hidden in the treetops. Three-toed sloths, of which there are four living species, are also much harder to spot in the wild than their cousins, the two-toed sloths. Less clear, however, is whether the umbilical cord usually acts as a life-saving device for the tree-dwelling mammals—there simply aren’t enough observations to know for sure.

What Vela’s video does illustrate is why citizen science is so important: It offers a valuable glimpse into a species’ behavior that can help scientists fill in knowledge gaps about a particular species. What’s more, such observations can provide data for experts in crafting conservation plans.

Want to see the video? Follow the link and see for yourself!

Solution News Source

A rare video of a sloth giving birth has scientists thrilled. Here’s why

When Steven Vela, a tour guide in Costa Rica, spotted a brown-throated sloth up in a tree near La Fortuna, he had no idea the animal was in the late stages of labor—or of the drama that would unfold next.

With the camera rolling, the sloth gives birth to its baby, but seconds later the baby slips out from its mother’s grasp. But instead of plummeting to the forest floor below, the baby dangled from its umbilical cord, prompting gasps from the newly gathered group of onlookers.

Perhaps surprising for the world’s slowest mammal, the mother then promptly reached down and hugged the baby against her body, licking her newborn clean. Vela claims he will “never see something like that again”, and he’s probably right.

Witnessing a sloth give birth is extremely rare, especially with regards to the three-toed sloth. For starters, sloths are secretive and sedentary creatures, almost always hidden in the treetops. Three-toed sloths, of which there are four living species, are also much harder to spot in the wild than their cousins, the two-toed sloths. Less clear, however, is whether the umbilical cord usually acts as a life-saving device for the tree-dwelling mammals—there simply aren’t enough observations to know for sure.

What Vela’s video does illustrate is why citizen science is so important: It offers a valuable glimpse into a species’ behavior that can help scientists fill in knowledge gaps about a particular species. What’s more, such observations can provide data for experts in crafting conservation plans.

Want to see the video? Follow the link and see for yourself!

Solution News Source

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