We recently had a chance to get a sneak peek at the newest resident to ZooMontana. It's time to meet Winston the sloth!
He arrived late in July and we talked with ZooMontana executive director Jeff Ewelt to learn more about his newest resident.
"Oh my gosh, I am so excited to introduce you to Winston the sloth. Everybody is so excited to meet this guy -- and I am so excited to introduce him to y'all," Ewelt said.
Ewelt noted that one of the interesting things about Winston is that "sloths is they cannot pass gas so they can't toot or burp or anything We have to be very careful when we feed this guy he can't eat things like broccoli or cabbage."
Winston just likes to hang around at the Billings zoo -- upside down -- which Ewelt told us is perfectly normal for sloths.
"It is. They are so well built to hang upside down. And the cool thing is their insides are actually anchored to the top of their bodies so they don't squash their diaphragm and suffocate themselves," he explained. "But these guys will literally hang in the trees for 15 to 20 hours a day sleeping the whole [time]."
Sloths like Winston also have an ecosystem and literally move so slow that moths and algae grow on them.
"It's actually camouflage for them," Ewelt said. "And believe it or not, there's a species of moth that is known to live in their fur. It's a give and take...these guys don't move very quick, and their own defense is to blend in or they can swim. So, a lot of times these guys will jump out of trees and land in a river below and swim to freedom. But that camouflage is crucial for their survival."
Ewelt added that while sloths are slow on land, "but in the water, it works really well."
The hope is the public will be able to meet Winston by the end of August but Ewelt said there have been some delays in getting the exhibit ready because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are having some delays due to the pandemic on shipping supplies that we need for his exhibit. But believe me, we want to get him out as soon as we can. because I know how excited people are. And we work our hardest to make that happen ASAP," he explained.
Click here to learn more about Winston and all of his friends at ZooMontana. The zoo open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. with the last admission at 4 p.m. ZooMontana is located off of the Zoo Drive exit of Interstate 90 in Billings.