When was the last time you had an opportunity to hold a sloth? At Wild Florida, they want you to experience it.
“We’re in the business of helping people make a connection with animals,” said Sam Haught, the owner and co-founder of Wild Florida Airboats.
Its mission is to have you fall in love with the animals, build a connection, and then help in the preservation and conservation of those in the wild.
That bonding experience begins with Wild Florida’s animal encounters, including a sloth encounter where you can get up close and personal with the slow-moving creatures. With the VIP sloth experience, you can hold and feed a sloth while you take a #slothie.
It’s hard not to fall in love. Meet Arie, a two-toed sloth in her 20s.
Her caretaker, Jenny Raycraft, says Arie’s favorite snacks are strawberries and corn. Her favorite activity is sleeping (of course), and she gets 18 to 20 hours of shut-eye a day.
When not sleeping, the sloths have been known to help out in a surprise wedding engagement or two.
Arie has been at Wild Florida for nearly three years and is a Linnaeus’s species of sloth, commonly found in South America.
The animals weigh 13 to 20 pounds and typically grow to a length of 23 to 27 inches. A typical diet includes leaves, twigs, flowers, and occasionally fruit.
In total, there are six species of sloths in the world. The two-toed species are doing pretty well right now, but the three-toed sloths are threatened or endangered.
In order to help in the preservation and conservation of sloths, Wild Florida donates a portion of the funds raised by the VIP Sloth Experience to the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica.
“There’s a very little chance many of our guests are ever going to Costa Rica to see a sloth in the wild,” Sam said. “But, they can come to places like us,get up close and personal with the animal, make a lifetime bond with it — and then go help preserve it in the wild to make sure it stays there.”