Welcome, Baby Anteater
(pup not yet on view to the public-see video)
March 14, 2014 (from the press release):
A male giant anteater born at the Santa Barbara Zoo on March 1, 2014, is being hand-raised by keepers and won’t be on view for some time, possibly several months. This is the first birth of the species at the Zoo since 2006, and the first offspring for the Zoo’s adult pair, Anara and Ridley. Anara, aged two, gave birth to twins, but the female newborn pup did not survive. Twins in anteaters are rare, though Anara is a twin and was also hand-raised, at the Fresno Zoo. The unnamed male pup weighed 1.58 kilograms at birth (approximately 3.5 pounds) and 1.84 kilograms (4 pounds) today (March 14).
“The prognosis for the little guy is good, but still somewhat guarded,” said Sheri Horiszny, the Zoo’s Director of Animal Programs. “Giant anteater pups have a fifty percent mortality rate in the first three months of life, and he did not get the valuable colostrum from his mother’s first milk for added immune support.”
The pup is being fed Esbilac, a puppy milk replacer. “He made it clear that he preferred this to the kitten milk replacer that we tried first,” adds Horiszny.
Giant Anteaters at the Zoo
There have been a total of 26 giant anteaters born at the Santa Barbara Zoo since 1975. The Zoo has been a leader in a nationwide study of giant anteaters, thanks in great part to Grandma, who had over 15 offspring. The average lifespan in this species is between 20 and 23 years of age, and Grandma lived to be 31 years old. She was the oldest giant anteater in captivity when she died in 2002. Giant anteater breeding is overseen by an AZA collaborative breeding program. The last giant anteater births at the Santa Barbara Zoo were in 2006 and 2004 to a pair named Sophie (a male, misidentified at birth) and Madeline.
About Giant Anteaters
Giant anteaters were once found from northern Argentina to southern Belize, in savannas, grasslands, swampy areas, and humid forests. However, they have disappeared from Belize, Guatemala, and probably in Costa Rica. In South America, they gone from Uruguay and portions of Brazil.