The "Too Cute" series on Animal Planet is one of my favorite shows to watch with my 10-year-old daughter because it's, well, cute! I consider it one of the few "safe" programs to watch with kids because it's pretty wholesome and innocent.
If you've never seen the show, it consists of close-ups of fuzzy baby creatures doing adorable things such as falling down, rolling over, and getting stuck in silly places. Most of the time, it follows a litter of kittens or puppies from birth to adoption. It's fun in a mind-numbing sort of way.
Well, this week my daughter and I watched an episode on sloths, and apparently all bets were off! The show featured the residents of the Avarios Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica, where a small group of sloth-loving women rescue and care for orphaned sloths.
I know what you're thinking: Cute, fuzzy, baby sloths. What could be more tender and vulnerable than a baby sloth?
How about my daughter's innocence, Animal Planet??
Apparently, sloths are sluts. (Who knew?) So most of the show was devoted to sloth sex and the lengths these creatures will go to for some slow-motion nookie.
There is a strict no-sex rule at the sanctuary, and the sloths are kept in separate cages to avoid procreation. But the female sloth-hoes belt out this high-pitched love song that attracts horny dude-sloths from all around the island. They come right up to the cages, and the female sloths actually "assume the position" and spread their legs so the act could technically take place right through the bars. (Thankfully, the audience doesn't get to see this.)
One particularly horny fellow who was appropriately named Randy even broke his arm after he fell out of a tree during a slow-motion fight with a rival horn-dog. When he finally gets some sloth-love at the end of the program, the women in the sanctuary cheer for him. (It was a joy holding my breath during this scene while my daughter just watched without batting an eyelash.)
So thanks to Animal Planet, my daughter and I got to share the experience of watching sloths make whoopie, and we learned that shagging is the only thing that sloths do quickly. (Did you know that sloth sex only lasts about five seconds?)
Luckily, my daughter didn't ask any questions, nor did she seem to even "get it," but it made me uncomfortable nonetheless. It wasn't even so much watching the animals mate that concerned me. I remember watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom as a child, and I never questioned it when the rhinos or lions hooked up. It was the narrator of this program talking about sex the whole time that really made me squirm.
Yes, it was kind of funny to imagine horny sloths going to great lengths to get together, but I just wasn't expecting such graphic language for a show that many parents watch with their young children. At age 10, my daughter will certainly be asking "those questions" any time now, and I am fully prepared to address them when the time comes.
I just hope she doesn't think that all sex has to follow the sloth's "five-second rule."