Feed, Pet, and Cuddle a Sloth

Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
July 23 2013 8:30 AM

Feed, Pet, and Cuddle a Sloth

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a new travel blog. Like us on FacebookTumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

Now found only in the humid forests of South and Central America, sloths have not roamed the Pacific Northwest for about 11,000 years—but a small conservation center in Oregon is home to the largest captive population in the world.

The Sloth Captive Husbandry Center in Rainier is dedicated to caring for and researching these unusual animals, as well as propagating the species and educating the public on conservation strategies. All its sloths are of the two-toed variety—three-toed sloths cannot survive in captivity due to their specialized diet.

Advertisement

Although the center is primarily a conservation facility, it is possible to feed and pet the sloths as part of a pre-arranged small group tour. Visitors seeking the ultimate sloth experience should sign up for the very limited "Sloth Saturation Immersion," during which you can hold one of the animals on your lap. The center describes its sloths as "old souls" and advises that cuddling one of them can be emotionally moving.

In March this year crooner Wayne Newton sold two sloths to the facility after his plans for an exotic animal park fell through. The pair, originally bought from the Rainier center had been living on Newton's Vegas estate along with lovebirds, lemurs, swans, and wallabies.

Animal Sanctuaries: 


View The Sloth Captive Husbandry Center in a larger map

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

The Strange History of Wives Gazing at Their Husbands in Political Ads

Television

See Me

Transparent is the fall’s only great new show.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful.
  Business
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
  Life
Education
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 30 2014 11:42 AM Listen to Our September Music Roundup Hot tracks from a cooler month, exclusively for Slate Plus members.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 2:56 PM How Faithful Is David Fincher’s Gone Girl?
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 2:38 PM Scientists Use Electrical Impulses to Help Paralyzed Rats Walk Again
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.