(TMU) — Zoo animals are typically used to being stuck in their enclosures where they spend their days being the object of attention for thousands of visitors. But as the coronavirus close zoos and aquariums across the world, life has calmed down drastically—no doubt leaving many animals bored with their new routines.
So now, a Texas aquarium is giving their creatures an altogether new experience by giving some of their own residents a tour of their facility so that the animals could interact with one another.
The Texas State Aquarium has a vibrant and diverse collection of sea and land creatures, ranging from exotic fish to vampire bats, keel-billed toucans, Caribbean flamingos, a number of different tortoises, as well as sharks and dolphins.
Last Friday, staff at the zoo decided to take their sloth, Chico, to meet some of the bottlenosed dolphins at the Gulf of Mexico exhibit.
As a bit of a local celebrity, Chico can't tour the Aquarium on most days without being mobbed by his adoring fans. But with our temporary closing, our sleepy sloth Chico was treated to an eye-opening adventure through our Gulf of Mexico exhibits!#ClosedButStillCaring
Posted by Texas State Aquarium on Friday, March 27, 2020
Their interaction, which was shared on Facebook, show the intelligent sea mammals Liko and Schooner bursting with excitement as they encountered the arboreal mammal likely for the first time in their lives.
Chico, for his part, seemed hardly excited by the encounter—instead, the lethargic three-year-old tree dweller seemed like he wanted to take a nap.
Snapshots of the meeting have since gone viral, with the post being shared 10,000 times and thousands of people posting comments.
One Facebook user wrote:
“Was Chico asleep the entire time? Love this! Thank you for bringing us a few smiles and some good laughs!”
While another wrote:
“What fun enrichment. These pictures are amazing.”
With the Aquarium temporarily closed, Chico the sloth had the opportunity for an up-close and personal meeting with some…
A spokesperson for the aquarium told Bored Panda that “play dates” are not out of the ordinary. They explained:
“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. We have another sloth, Xena, but on that day, she was more interested in sleeping than meeting the dolphins!
Our dolphins have had the opportunity to meet several other animals over the years, including baby gators, an African serval, a red-tailed boa and others. They’re almost always very curious about the other Aquarium residents.”
In the meantime, it’s perfectly understandable if we humans—confined to our homes as we are—feel a tiny by of jealousy for the residents of the Texas State Aquarium.