Sunday, 26th May, 2024

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HotSlots – daily life in a small-town zoo

I’ve been working as a zookeeper for almost fifteen years now, and for the last six years I’ve been working mostly with sloths 🦥. We are a small-town zoo, so of course I help feed and care for the other animals too, but when it comes to sloths, I’m the first person in the line.

Since then, I have learned a lot about these magnificent animals, in practice, at my daily duties at the zoo, and from books and different educational videos.

One of the first sloths that I got was HotSlots. It’s a strange name, I know, but I’ll tell you where it comes from. One day my coworker, Roger, brought an interesting sign to the zoo. He said he found it downtown, next to a dumpster, and liked it, so he took it. The sign said: OhMySpins Casino. It was probably a dislodged casino sign with little lights that used to shine.

We liked the sign so much that we decided to keep it. The zoo’s management allowed us to install it above the entrance of the sloths’ enclosure. Two weeks later, our first sloth family arrived at the zoo. Two females and one male. Everyone was looking forward to them, and we tried to make them fully comfortable and to create the most optimal living space for the furry animals.

Three baskets of laziness

When the animals arrived, we took them as quickly and with the smallest inconvenience as possible to their new home, which had a sign at the entrance saying OhMySpins Casino.

Given their new home, it was fitting to choose thematic names for the three new arrivals. So they were named All In, Spin and HotSlots. From the moment they arrived, they were my responsibility. I have taken care of their food 🍊, their feeding, the cleanliness of their living space, their health and their well-being. Everything.

The belief is indeed true, sloths are extremely lazy animals indeed. They can sleep up to fifteen hours a day. So you have to be very careful when and how much you feed them. It’s important to find the right sleeping place, but they can snooze practically anywhere 💤. Even upside down. And if they fall asleep, it’s very difficult to wake them up.

This is why they need extra attention, as they are less aware of danger in the wild than other animals. Of course, in our zoo there is no threat to them, except from way too curious and bratty children. Here they are safe and sound, and nothing bad can happen to them. Not while I’m looking after them, that is for sure.

Out of my comfort zone

I’ve worked with a lot of animals in my fifteen years as a zoo keeper, but I never thought I would learn the most from these three little sloths. First of all, all of them have very different personalities. They have different temperaments, different tastes, different appetites, different habits. They have good days and bad days, just like us, humans. They can be very affectionate with people, but we have to respect their boundaries or sometimes they just don’t want to see us.

They can feel your sadness and sorrow, and they can sense when you are down. And then they try to comfort you or cheer you up ❤️. Their efforts are incredible, I swear. They can learn and understand their own names, but they can also remember many other words too.

They take up my whole working day, but I also think about them a lot in my free time when I’m not at the zoo. I talk about them a lot to my family and friends, and many of my friends have visited the zoo just because of them. When they are in a good mood, they are very communicative and cheeky with visitors.

I don’t know how much we have in common, but I feel like I’ve grown together with this sloth family. That’s how I fell in love with the lazy little inhabitants of our zoo, who not only made their way into the OhMySpins Casino residence, but also into my heart.


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