For the third time in Zoo history, a Giant anteater has been born at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo.
Arriving on June 15 after a 175-day gestation period, the baby weighed 4.3 pounds at nine days old, and 6.1 pounds at 23 days old on July 8.
Proud parents are third time dad, E.O., and fourth time mom, Pana. The pair was brought to Connecticut’s only Zoo with the hopes of successful breeding, which occurred for the first time in 2016. Currently mother and baby are in seclusion most of the day, with brief forays into the outdoor habitat for fresh air and sunshine.
“We couldn’t be happier that our Giant anteaters Pana and E.O. are parents for the third time,” explained Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “We encourage everyone to follow the baby’s growth and progress on our Facebook and Instagram pages until the baby is a bit larger.”
Mochilla, the pair’s first offspring, is now in residence at Alexandria Zoo in Louisiana. The second-born, Tupi, is now at the Nashville Zoo in Tennessee.
Female anteaters give birth to one offspring and the baby rides on mom’s back for the first several months of life, occasionally venturing off not too far from mom to explore its surroundings. For the first week, mom spends most of her time sleeping while bonding occurs and the baby gains strength and weight.
When Pana and her baby are outside, EO will not be allowed to be in the same habitat due to the mother’s protectiveness. Pana and the baby will be outside for guests to view later this summer, alternating with EO.
The Giant anteater parents came to the Zoo from Palm Beach Zoo in Palm Beach, Florida. Both Pana and EO are twelve years old. They arrived in late May 2015 and are a highlight of the Pampas Plains habitat, which opened in August 2015. Featuring animals from the Pampas region of Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, the exhibit represents the Zoo’s South American Adventure.
About Giant Anteaters
Giant anteaters can live up to 26 years in human care and are usually solitary animals. They weigh up to 100 pounds, and are five to seven feet long. Their home range is from southern Belize to northern Argentina and they live in grasslands, humid forests, and woodland areas.
Anteaters have one of the lowest body temperatures in the animal kingdom at 91 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit and can eat up to 30,000 ants per meal in the wild. The Latin name for anteater is Vermillingua, meaning “worm tongue,” which can be as long as two feet.