Academy of Natural Sciences features animals without the need for speed

John McDevitt
February 14, 2020 - 9:12 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It's called "Survival of the Slowest" — a new exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, featuring a live sloth and other animals.

Visitors who listen carefully might hear Lou Lou, a 9-month-old two-toed sloth, snacking on a sweet potato and rice mixture. Wait for it, and she'll slowly blink or wink her chestnut-colored eyes.

"The sloth, in particular, survives being slow by hanging high up in the canopies of the rain forest in Central- and South America," said Karen Verderame, who takes care of some of the live animals at the Academy of Natural Sciences. "Their diet doesn't allow for high-energy movement, so they're very slow to conserve that energy. They are feeding on a variety of fruits, leaves and shoots from the tree. Since they are so slow, their arms and their limbs are designed for hanging in the tree."

Verderame explains that two-toed sloths, like all sloths, actually have three toes. But they have two front claws, hence the name.

There are other slow-moving critters to examine, including snakes, frogs, scorpions and lizards. A handler might even remove some of them from their enclosures so visitors can get an even closer look.

"Survival of the Slowest" opens Saturday and runs through Sept. 20.