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Sloth Explores Texas Aquarium Under Lockdown, Really Vibes with Dolphins

You know the world is getting restless under social distancing restrictions when even our notoriously lethargic sloths are taking an interest in visiting exhibits. Seriously, sloths are touring the Texas State Aquarium. The Corpus Christi aquarium recently posted to Facebook, writing that, while its building is currently closed to the public, a resident sloth named Chico left his enclosure to pay the neighboring sea life a visit. 

Every time I leave my apartment for a walk, the expression I give neighbors I once ignored is not unlike the smile of an amicable dolphin looking upon a seemingly indifferent sloth. While 3-year-old Chico moved around most of the Gulf of Mexico exhibit--which included seahorses, jellyfish, and ducks(!)--he seemed to have a particular impact on two dolphins, Liko and Schooner. 

"Liko and Schooner were very curious, and Liko was even inspired to attempt an upside-down sloth impression," the aquarium wrote in the Facebook post.

In a blog post, the Texas aquarium shared that Chico arrived from a Michigan facility in January of 2018 and has been hanging out in the Caribbean jungle exhibit ever since, ferociously noshing on squash and winning the hearts of visitors and employees. But Chico is also useful as a means of enrichment for other animals; a Texas State Aquarium spokesperson told Bored Panda that having animals meet one another is common practice at the facility, and that it "helps keep them active in body and mind." And now the building's shut-down allows for more creative playdates. 

"As some of our most popular animals, it seemed an obvious choice for our sloths and dolphins to get a chance to see each other while we were temporarily closed," said the representative. 

This is not the first time we're seeing animals run free in aquariums. A few weeks ago the penguins and the puppies came out to play at different aquariums. These animals are doing important work to enrich the lives of fishes--I mean, you're tired of hanging out with the same three people on Zoom, but imagine how you'd feel if you were holed up in one glass enclosure with an entire school of fish. 

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Ruby Anderson is a News Writer for Thrillist.