So This Happened: Toddler's Teddy Bear Saves Baby Sloth's Life

A sloth nose just inches from a teddy bear nose: (Burgers Zoo via PRI)Let me take you through this story slowly so that you don't release a lifetime's worth of oxytocin in the next three seconds.

First picture a baby sloth, with a little black Gund-type nose, and paws which are used like human arms to hug things. Got it? The name's Sjakie, born 2 months ago in the Netherlands' Burgers Zoo. In his first days of life, zookeepers heard his teeny sloth squeaks (right now would be a good time to gnaw on stress ball and pretend it's Sjakie) while his mommy was feeding him, and realized he wasn't getting enough milk to sustain his little sloth life.

Providing outside nourishment for Sjakie wasn't the problem. It was his sloth instinct when feeding: "They need to hang on normally to the mother...it's like a reflex," Burgers zoo manager Wineke Schoo told PRI. He wasn't eating without gripping his mother and she wasn't able to give him enough milk to survive.

So it became clear they needed to find something furry, and fast.

"We tried out several teddy bears or stuffed animals...and it didn't work out really well," said Schoo.

Then Sjakie's keeper took him home for overnight feeding, and introduced the furry animal to his two-year daughter. According to Schoo, the little girl "offered her own teddy bear as a present," in hopes it would be just what the doctor orders. And guess what? Sjakie loved it!

"This was actually the right one," said Schoo. "We don't know why; the right size probably."

Now the little girl's teddy is the little sloth's mommy. Sjakie is doing so well with the stuffed animal that doubles him in size, he's expected to start feeding without it soon. Not that the little girl will get her doll back. Says Schoo, "[The sloth] pees on the teddy bear." Okay so not everything about the story is adorable, but if I may conclude by directing your attention back to the notion of teeny tiny baby sloth squeaks quieted only by a toddler's teddy bear. Thank you. That is all.

Maybe you didn't get how similar in texture a living sloth is to a non-living teddy bear. Here. (Burgers Zoo via …