Last week I got to do something that was so cool, I just have to share. For our second wedding anniversary, my husband took me on a surprise trip to The Sloth Center and Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center (which has a url that sounds like it’s NSFW, but I promise it’s not). It’s only about an hour and a half drive from our house in Portland, but it’s a wonderland of amazing creatures. You guys, I got to pet and hold sloths!! I’m getting ahead of myself, though.
The visit began with small animal snuggling. First, meet Pallida, the baby pale fox. She looks like a Fennec fox, but with smaller ears. There’s hardly any information online about pale foxes (Vulpes pallida), because they really haven’t been studied much. From my studies, I can tell you that they are insanely cute, but also scared and/or cold.
Next we got to hold a baby domesticated skunk. He was de-scented, and didn’t smell at all.
The baby skunk, we were told, is best friends with Quilliam, the baby porcupine. His spines are still soft, but we still had to be careful to only pet him from head-to-tail.
We also held and petted a baby armadillo and a rare type of lizard, and there were sheep, goats, dogs, and geese wandering around the property. Petting these creatures was actually for their benefit, as well as ours. They need to be socialized so that they can be used for educational programs that the center does with children.
Next we went inside to the sloth room. It was literally a round glassed-in room with sloths hanging everywhere. We had sticks of zucchini to feed them as payment for the petting. Food is always a good way to make friends.
Sloths really do do everything in slow motion. They would glide slowly towards you and open their mouth to be fed treats. But it turns out they have some pretty freaky looking teeth!
Terrifying, right? It’s a good thing they only use them for stripping leaves from branches. We did have to be careful that they didn’t accidentally bite us, though, since they don’t have good eyesight.
While in the sloth room, we got to take turns holding a baby sloth. Obviously this was insanely cute.
This baby sloth was ready for a nap. Look at those little yawns!
So, pretty much the best day ever. If you live nearby, I highly recommend you book a tour!
But do it as soon as possible, because they’re only doing tours until they raise enough money for a new building. If you’re not into sloths, they also have tours with wolves, wallabies, kangaroos, penguins, and who knows what else.
April 2016 Update: According to their website, they’re still doing tours, but some of them have been discontinued, and it seems like all of them are in danger of being canceled due to new federal rules about contact with wildlife.
Oh and P.S. My husband is the best for taking me here as an anniversary gift. Definitely a keeper!
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