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A giant anteater was born – The “baby boom” is still going on at the Zoo

A giant anteater was born

The “baby boom” is still going on at the Zoo

 

The general public can already see the giant anteater pup born in July in the Budapest Zoo. This is already the third offspring from the breeding couple, Isabela and William’s pairing, since they arrived in 2014. The little one is still squatting on his mum’s back.

Visitors can now more often admire the giant anteater pup at the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden. The little thing came into the world on July 5, but in the first week or so only a few could see it, because the mother rested a lot, and at this time, as is customary with giant anteaters, she covered herself and the cub with her shaggy tail. In recent days, however, it has become possible to observe the newcomer more and more while he is being carried, clutching his mother’s back, and even taking smaller walks.

It is not the first time that a pup was born as the progeny of the Budapest giant anteater breeding pair, the seven-year-old Isabela and the eight-year-old William. The female already gave birth to one pup in 2016 and one in 2018: the Budapest-born giant anteaters, named Bejgli and Flódni, have since grown up; one of them went to a Czech zoo, and the other to an Austrian zoo. By the way, William and Isabela arrived in Budapest in 2014 as young animals. Previously, visitors to the Zoo could only see giant anteaters in the 1890s.

The giant anteaters themselves belong to a special group of mammals and are more closely related to sloths and armadillos. However, they are not relatives of Myrmecobius fasciatus, also known as numbat, or of echidnas, which are one of the egg-laying mammals. There are four known species of anteaters (the silky anteater (Cyclopes didactylus), the northern tamandua (Tamandua mexicana), the southern tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla) and the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)), of which the giant anteater can be seen at the Budapest Zoo and grows to the largest. Adult animals can weigh up to 40 kg and can be up to two metres long from the tip of their elongated nose to the end of their shaggy tail.

Photo: Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden

The giant anteater is native to many countries in South America, including Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname, and even some Central American countries. However, too many of them are nowhere to be found, and even if the status of the species is not critical, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the conservation status of giant anteaters as vulnerable.

Giant anteaters, as their name suggests, feed primarily on ants and various termites. Their physique is also adapted to this lifestyle. With their powerful front legs and huge claws, they dig excellently and can even tear down the concrete-hard walls of termite castles. They pick up food with their long, worm-like, sticky tongue. Females usually give birth to a single offspring after 142-190 days of gestation. The little one lets himself be carried on the back of her mother from the first day and starts his independent life after ten months.

Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden

1146 Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 6-12.

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