This animal-loving couple own three pet sloths who love nothing more than snuggling – and painting – and have sold 4,000 pieces of art so far.
Jenni and Terry Koenig, both 44, dote on their two-toed sloths, mum Zuri, dad Enzo, and baby Pancake.
Surprisingly, Jenni discovered Enzo was interested in painting when she was doing crafts in his enclosure.
After handing him the paintbrush, Enzo fell in love with painting and has created over 4,000 unique pieces that Jenni sells for $50 each to fund their upkeep.
Jenni, from between Manitowoc and Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA, had always loved sloths and kept asking Terry if they could have one themselves.
Terry thought Jenni was “mad” until he saw a sloth at a zoo and was just in “awe”.
Jenni began seriously looking into the reality of owning a sloth and created a heated, humidified room in their back garden.
After a month of preparations, the Koenigs bought their first sloth Enzo in 2018 for $6,000.
In 2021, the couple found Zuri, a female sloth who was only available to an experienced owner and took her in.
Their sloth family was finally completed when Zuri unexpectedly gave birth to baby Pancake, in December 2022.
Zuri, Enzo, and Pancake live in a large indoor-outdoor enclosure in the couple’s garden that replicates their tropical home.
They keep the building at 80°F (26°C) and have a connecting outside space that they open up when the weather gets warmer.
Jenni said: “We want to make sure that we’re giving them the best care and the best environment.
“The worry with exotics is that we have to provide the right environment and food for them.
“They are tropical animals, but they’re a little hardier than we give them credit for. The sloths LOVE being outside, especially in the rain!
“I know my sloths are happy too because they made a baby! My goal wasn’t ever to breed them, but I’m glad they get along that well and are that comfortable.”
The journey to housing the sloths wasn’t easy, however.
Jenni spent about $5,000 on the enclosure for Enzo and has to fork out monthly for heating, food, enrichment activities and vet bills.
The couple had to thoroughly check all of the laws in their state for owning exotic animals and ensure they had the right permits.
Despite the challenges, the couple have a wonderful life with their sloths, who hang out with them, give them kisses and paint with them.
Jenni and Terry also have three lemurs, three sulcata tortoises, dozens of indoor and outdoor cats, four dogs, and they foster various animals for their local humane society.
They have a passion for taking care of animals and making sure they have the best care available – even if that means rehoming them.
Jenni previously rescued an African serval living in the bathroom of a city apartment, but released it to the care of a zoo after realising it needed more specialist care than she could give.
They plan to keep Enzo, Zuri and Pancake forever and are not opposed to taking another sloth if one becomes available.
Jenni believes that as sloths are becoming increasingly prevalent in pop culture, there will be a rise in people who have pet sloths and then give them up due to being “disappointed”.
She added: “They are nocturnal animals so we only really see them active in the early morning and late evening.
“They are also very expensive animals and require a lot of upkeep.
“I think they are wonderful, therapeutic animals that are amazing to be around – but some people might be disappointed in the reality of having them.”
Jenni and Terry share their unique life on Instagram and TikTok, where they post clips of their exotic animals and everything they get up to.
She said: “My goal is to make people smile and so if my videos can do that, I’m happy.
“I’d love to bring some of the joys that they bring to me to others around the world.
“There are people who think what I’m doing is wrong, and I really do understand their point of view, but I am always making sure my sloths are happy and well looked after.
“Unfortunately for Enzo and Zuri they can never be released into the wild, so it’s about trying to make their life as great as we can, safely.”