Oldest sloth in captivity ever
Who
Jan
What
51:325 year(s):day(s)
Where
Germany (Krefeld)
When

A male Linne’s two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus) named Jan – a resident at Krefeld Zoo in Germany since 30 April 1986 – is at least 51 years 325 days old as of 22 March 2022. Although born in the wild in South America, Jan was estimated to have been aged around six months when found on 1 May 1970, which means he is likely to be over 52 years of age. The zoo has nominated 30 April as his birthday.


This surpasses the previously eldest-known specimen, Paula (wild born c. 1969) – also a Linne's two-toed sloth – who lived at Halle Zoo in Germany between 25 September 1971 and 6 August 2020; she was estimated to be 51 years old in 2020.

In the wild, the typical lifespan for two-toed sloths is around 20 years old; in captivity, that increases to 30–40 years.

Jan was initially purchased by Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg, where he arrived on 9 December 1970 and lived there for just over 15 years, before being transferred to Krefeld Zoo in 1986 where he has resided ever since.

Incredibly, Jan shares his enclosure in the rainforest hall at Krefeld Zoo with another superlatively aged sloth called Lulu – a Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth (C. hoffmanni) – who is believed to be the oldest living female sloth currently in captivity. Having arrived at Krefeld Zoo on 15 April 1974 from Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois, USA, Lulu is estimated to have been born in 1973, which would make her 49 years old in 2022.

Despite his impressive age, Jan is still playing his part in the zoo’s sloth breeding programme. In January 2022, he became a father for the 20th time to a son named Kalle (born to Trine).