London Zoo is raising a sloth with a teddy bear as a surrogate mother

The mammal is able to cling to the specially adapted stuffed toy in order to develop his muscles

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The Independent Online

A baby sloth at London Zoo is being hand-reared using a teddy bear as a surrogate mother.

The seven-week-old animal, named Edward because of comparisons between his claws and Edward Scissorhands, found that his mother stopped producing milk and was unable to care for him.

Zookeeper Kelly-Anne Kelleher has since taken on the role of his mother, with the help of a specially adapted teddy bear.

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Zookeeper Kelly-Anne Kelleher cradles Edward

The bear has been adapted using carabiners, climbing equipment which enables it to be hung from a branch whilst he climbs on and has the opportunity to strengthen his limbs. Sloths normally develop their muscles by clinging on to their mothers.

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Kelly-Anne said: “We’re bottle-feeding Edward every three hours with goat’s milk, topped up with some vitamins to keep him fit and healthy.

“Just like with human baby formula, we heat it up until it’s at room temperature, and test its warmth on our wrists- it took him a few days to get used to the bottle, but now he’s hungrily suckling as soon as we give it to him.

“If he’s feeling particularly hungry he makes a very funny noise to let us know- a sound between a squeak and a sneeze, but it’s very loud and he makes his point.”

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