Chapter two - A big mistake

by ZSL on

Chapter two - A big mistake

Dego the sloth

SWOOSH!

Through the leaves, faster than he can comprehend, something powerful is upon them.

In a blur of movement Dego sees massive, grey wings…a flash of giant, powerful talons…

It’s a harpy eagle.

They’ve made a terrible mistake choosing this tree. 

The eagle’s talons make a grab for Dego. Mum slashes out at the giant bird and then…suddenly…

They’re falling.

CRASH!

They rip through leaves and branches in a blur of green and brown.

WHACK!

Dego is separated from mum.

CRACK!

He smashes through the lower branches.

Until, finally…

OOMPH!

He hits the floor.

He looks around the maze of spidery, red roots. Where’s Mum?

He cries out into the forest, but it’s silent. 

He squeaks and squeaks but Mum doesn’t come. He’s all alone on the forest floor. 

Gingerly he stretches out an arm, it’s time for him to try to crawl. His three sharp claws scrabble on the strange terrain as he tries to pull himself across it. In the fading light he looks around one last time for any sign of Mum, but she’s gone. 

One slow, scary step at a time he drags himself over the roots. Birds break into an evening chorus and the bats begin to zoom above. He heaves himself away from the eagle tree and towards the island edge. Crawling is tricky and uncomfortable but he keeps going. It feels like it takes ages, he’s so slow and awkward, but eventually he reaches the shoreline. Crawling from the sand he grabs onto a mangrove tree and hauls himself up, up and up to safety. Nestling in to a leafy branch, finally he sleeps.  

When Dego wakes it’s bright and sunny. Sheltered under the mangrove leaves he can see out across a glistening green lagoon sprinkled with little islands. Slooooowly he climbs from branch to branch, tree to tree, napping in-between, until he hangs from a mangrove growing up out of the wa-ter. Beneath him a giant turtle munches on sea grass. 

Across the lake something bobs on the water. 
He drifts into a glorious snooze.

‘!Perezoso!’

Lazily he opens one eye.

‘!Perezoso!’ 

He turns his head almost all the way round. 

Below him, strange animals, standing on their hind legs on some sort of floating platform are staring up and pointing at something…him! 

They jump up and down, pointing before bobbing away again, chattering in their strange language.

Dego yawns. The sun shines. The sea sparkles. Below colourful fish whizz and dart. Maybe it’s time …for another…

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

Watch out for chapter three coming soon!

Select a blog

Careers at ZSL

Our people are our greatest asset and we realise our vision for a world where wildlife thrives through their ideas, skills and passion. An inspired, informed and empowered community of people work, study and volunteer together at ZSL.

ZSL London Zoo

A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!

Conservation

We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.

Science

From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.

Education

A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.

Artefact of the month

Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.

Wild About

Read testimonials from our Members and extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.

Chagos Expedition

The Chagos archipelago is a rare haven for marine biodiversity. Hear from the team about our projects to protect the environments in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).

Asia Conservation Programme

ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.