Since watching a sloth documentary a number of years ago, I have been in love with sloths, and hoped to one day get up-close and personal with these mellow mammals.
So, when planning my trip to Costa Rica, a place sloths call home, my main goal was to kiss one of those bad boys.
My dream sorta-kinda came true…enough so that I am fulfilled. I didn’t kiss the sloth….the sloth kissed me. And the “he” was a “she.” Good enough!
The sad part is that the two sloths I got to visit were in an enclosure. I am always saddened by captivity, as I feel it’s an injustice. However, all of the animals in the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park are rescues, many of them found injured and/or abused, so I have to hope these sloths are in a much better place than before they arrived.
This is where I met Danny, a Costa Rican guide with the reserve for only six months. Danny speaks beautiful English, and cares deeply for both his charges and his guests, wanting each to have the best experience possible.
The sloths were sleeping when we arrived for feeding time. They sleep on their back: legs pulled up, arms crossed and head tucked into the “V” of the crossed arms, creating a compact little ball to preserve heat…and energy. These guys sleep…a LOT.
I was with a group of six who were all staying at the Peace Lodge – a waterfall-infused lodge on the property, and we were allowed into the sloth cage because we were lodge guests.
Rocket (a fitting name for a sloth) was the first to wake up. She slowly….and I DO mean s-l-o-w-l-y traversed the branches of her shelter upside down to where we all stood with her tray of veggies.
With her legs and one arm wrapped around a branch, she hung upside down and lazily reached out for the carrot Danny offered. One by one we stood on a step stool to have our picture taken with her as she ate.
When it was my turn, I of course fell in love with her, and was very involved with cooing at her and talking to her and trying to get her to notice ME instead of the green bean that she was reaching for.
This was the moment the smaller sloth, Guapa, bumped me on the top of my head, after having made her languorous journey to the feeding station, all without my knowledge.
I’d completely forgotten that there were two sloths, so I screamed, jumped…and fell. Off of the 18” step stool. Landing HARD on my bad leg. Luckily, Danny caught a great deal of my fall, or it would have been worse. As it was, I merely suffered an out-of-commission knee.
I did NOT let this stop me.
We took turns getting photos with both sloths, and I managed to hobble up the steps for my second round with the girls, and it’s almost like they knew I was hurt. They seemed to caress my head and kiss me, and you know what? It DID make me feel better.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park :: The Peace Lodge http://www.waterfallgardens.com