In a city that is home to many high achievers and their fast-paced lifestyles, at least one longtime resident was content to move at the slow speed for which her family is celebrated.

She was a sloth, a long-lived two-toed sloth named Ms. Chips, and she died last week at the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo. A Washington native, Ms. Chips was 45 years old at the time of her death.

Keepers knew her as a sweet and gentle creature who, the zoo said, preferred her own company to that of the other animals she lived with. Her residence at the zoo for most of her life was the Small Mammal House, where she appeared alongside other sloths, as well as tamarins and armadillos.

Most recently, she was housed with a coppery titi monkey named Mo and a screaming hairy armadillo named Dylan.

Two-toed sloths spend their time hanging from trees. Nature has not endowed them with the ability to walk, so they rely on hand-over-hand maneuvering to get around. It is slow going.

No cause of death was given in the announcement the zoo made Friday about Ms. Chips. However it did appear that she had far exceeded the life span of many of her species. Under human care, the zoo said, the median life expectancy for female two-toed sloths is 15 years.


Ms. Chips, seen above in typical sloth position, was a two-toed sloth who was born at the zoo in Washington almost 46 years ago. She died last week. (photo by Clyde Nishimura/Smithsonian's National Zoo)

Ms. Chips was about two months short of her 46th birthday. She was born at the zoo on March 2, 1972.

Merely to provide historical perspective, that was more than three months before the Watergate break-in.