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April 2012

Tiny Tarantulas Hatch By The Hundreds!


The U.K.'s Bristol Zoo is celebrating the hatching of over 140 Antilles Pink-toed Bird-eating Tarantulas. At four weeks old, the spiderlings are now little more than the size of a 5p coin with a striking metallic steel blue-black colouring. Zoo guests can see the new arrivals in the window of the tropical breeding room in the Zoo’s Bug World.

Mark Bushell, assistant curator of invertebrates at Bristol Zoo, said: “This species is one of the most beautiful types of tarantula around. When the spiderlings first hatch, they are tiny and translucent but they gradually develop, moult and turn into little blue fluffy tarantulas and are very eye-catching”.


Photo credits: Bristol Zoo

He added: “Breeding these spiders is a real achievement. It has been a fantastic experience for our team of invertebrate keepers and means now have the tools to successfully breed more species of arachnid in future, including some of the more endangered species.”

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Florida's Fennec Fox Count Forges Ahead by Five


Palm Beach Zoo's newest arrivals are 5 Fennec Fox kits. The kits are approximately 7 weeks old, though their exact age isn't known, since they were safely tucked away in an underground burrow until earlier this month when they began to venture out to meet their adoring public.

Fennec Foxes are one of the smallest fox species. Large ears allow the Fennec to hear the movements of its enemies and prey over long distances, which is very important for a desert animal. It can even hear its prey moving underground. Fennec Foxes can be found throughout the deserts of North Africa and the Sinai and Arabian Peninsulas. Fennecs avoid the worst heat of the desert by living in burrows during the day and emerging only in the cool of the night. They dig their burrows at the base of small hills or in other places where moisture is likely to be retained for long periods of time. Despite the desert's lifeless appearance, there are in fact a large number of animal species available for the Fennec to feed on. Scorpions, spiders and beetles make up the majority of the Fennec's diet in the wild.





Photo credits: Palm Beach Zoo / Brett Bartek


The Palm Beach Zoo actively participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for fennec foxes and has exhibited the species since 1995. Since then, the zoo has had nine successful births bringing the grand total of fennec foxes on zoo grounds to 13. Initiated in 1981 by the AZA, Species Survival Plans strive to manage chosen species and help maintain healthy, diverse populations that may become self‐sustaining in the future. SSPs also assist with field projects in home range areas, help educate the public, and provide funding for research and reintroduction of animals back into the wild, when appropriate.

New Pictures, New Video! Bronx Zoo Giraffe Calf Update

The Giraffe calf born in March at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo has made her debut on the African Plains, and she's one busy girl. See her nuzzle with mom, romp around her exhibit, and interact with a surprise visitor—an interloping butterfly. You can see earlier pictures of this tall baby from our ZooBorns article on March 23.

The calf has not yet been named. The Bronx Zoo names all of its giraffes in memory of Mr. and Mrs. James Carter, benefactors for the Carter Giraffe Building.

Raff front

Photo credits: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Double Mongoose Lemur Trouble At Busch Gardens


Earlier this month, Busch Gardens witnessed an uncommon event: the birth of Mongoose Lemur twins. On Friday, April 6, the two babies were born to 17-year-old mother Rosalita and 18-year-old father Guillermo. Rosalita’s first baby – a male named Duggan – was also born at Busch Gardens and moved to another zoo for breeding. Mongoose Lemurs are classified as a “vulnerable” species, and Busch Gardens takes part in Species Survival Plans (SSP) initiated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to cooperatively manage breeding programs for threatened or endangered species in accredited institutions. 

Busch Gardens zoo staff aren’t yet sure if the new babies are male or female. All baby Mongoose Lemurs look the same at birth, but around 6-8 months of age, males start to change color and develop their red “beard” and cheeks. Females have a darker face and white beard. 

Look closely in the pictures below to spot the babies tucked under mom's leg!



Photo credit: Matt Marriott / Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

The Mongoose Lemur, like all Lemurs, is indigenous to the island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, but they are one of only two species of Lemur to also live in an area outside the island: Mongoose Lemurs can be found on the Comoros Islands between Madagascar and Africa.

It's a Bear! It's a Cat! It's Neither!

Baby Bearcats Singapore Zoo Night Safari!

Despite having a body like a small bear and a face similar to a cat, the secretive Bearcat is actually a member of the civet family, more closely related to Mongooses and Meerkats (and true civets of course). These baby Bearcats, also known as Binturongs, were born at the Wildlife Reserves Singapore's Night Safari on January 26.

Found primarily in the rainforest treetops of South and Southeast Asia, Bearcats have a mixed diet of fruits, leaves, birds, fish and eggs. Extremely rare among carnivores, this speices has a fully prehensile tail. The meaning of their other name, Binturong, is unknown as the native language it was derived from is now extinct.

Bearcat Cub Hanging from a Tree

Baby Bearcat Cub at Singapore ZooPhoto credits: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Baby Camel for Cincinnati Zoo - The First in Thirty Years


Saarai (pronounced “sorry”), the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s three-year-old Bactrian camel, gave birth to her first calf on Monday, April 23 and it's a boy. The last time the Zoo celebrated a camel birth was in 1983, so this birth was much anticipated by Zoo staff. 

Saarai became restless early Monday morning, and keepers noticed that she wasn’t eating or behaving as normal. As the afternoon approached, she began to pace and shortly thereafter keepers noticed the first signs of active labor. Staff blocked the outdoor exhibit off to the public and Saarai delivered the calf at 3:15 p.m. while the father, three-year-old Humphrey, watched from the neighboring exhibit. Soon after delivery, Saarai began nuzzling her calf; the baby first attempted to stand around 4 p.m. Mom and calf are doing well and will remain off exhibit, spending time nursing and bonding. 

The Zoo is asking for help in naming the baby. Keepers have selected their top three choices (Henry, Lyn and Cain), and the public can vote for their favorite online through Monday, April 30. The winning name will be announced on May 1.

Mom and

Photo Credit: Cincinnati Zoo 

Corndog Delivers!

Baby Anteater Roger Williams Park Zoo 1

Keepers at Roger Williams Park Zoo were overjoyed April 5 when they checked in on their resident female Giant Anteater, Corndog, and discovered she had given birth to a healthy baby. Veterinary staff had been tracking the baby's development with weekly ultrasound exams and this delivery was right on schedule with their predictions. 

The first six months of life can be very challenging for baby Anteaters, so animal care staff are watching the pup's progress closely. However, so far all is well with the long-nosed youngster, who weighed 2.75 lbs five days after birth. In these photos, Zoo staff provided the baby with a stuffed animal to cling to for comfort during a medical exam.

Starting next week, Corndog will be allowed to venture outside with her baby for fresh air whenever she likes. Visitors will likely be able to see the baby clinging to the fur on mom's back, where the pup will remain for most of its first year of life.

Baby Giant Anteater Face Roger Williams Park Zoo 3

Baby Anteater at Roger Williams Park Zoo 2Photo credits: Roger Williams Park Zoo

Corndog was born in January 2006 at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo in California, and came to Roger Williams Park Zoo last year from the Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend, Indiana. The father, Johei, was born in 2006 at the San Diego Zoo and was the first resident in the Zoo’s Giant Anteater exhibit which was completed in 2007.

Corndog was selected to come to Roger Williams Park Zoo to be bred with Johei based on recommendations made by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Giant Anteaters, native to grassland and lowland tropical forests in Central and South America, are listed as “vulnerable” by the IUCN due to loss of habitat and hunting. It is estimated that only 5,000 animals remain in the wild. Giant Anteaters have a sense of smell that is 40 times as powerful as a human’s to help them locate ant colonies.  They use their 4 inch long claws to rip open termite mounds and their 2 foot long tongues move up to 150 times per minute as they each consume up to 35,000 termites and ants per day.

Ferocious! Black-footed Kittens at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Bfkitten three

Reaching only about 3.5 lbs as adults, Black-footed Cats may be the world's smallest felines. When these two little kittens were born April 2 at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, they weighed-in at just 7 ounces (200 grams). The kittens' sexes have yet to be determined. They were born to mom, Godiva, and father, Wyatt.

Wyatt is considered a genetically valuable animal whose genes and offspring are an important contribution to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for Black-footed Cats. There are about 18 accredited institutions in North America with Black- footed Cats and this is the third litter for Cleveland Metroparks.

Peek a Kitten

Blackfooted Kitten up close and personal

Blackfooted Kitten Looking Ferocious

Black-footed Cats are the smallest of the African cats, with adults reaching about 3.5 pounds when fully grown. Their conservation status is listed as “vulnerable” in the wild. Black-footed Cats are found in the grasslands and savannas of Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The gestation period is from 63 to 68 days, resulting in a litter of 1-3 kittens. Kittens develop quickly, eating solid food at five weeks and capturing prey at six.

Two Blackfooted Cat Kittens at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo 1Photo credits: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo


Wallaby Twins! A Rare and Welcome Surprise For Blackpool Zoo

Twins CU

Keepers at Blackpool Zoo in the UK thought they were seeing double when they spotted an extremely rare set of Red-necked Wallaby twins! The two tiny joeys, which were first noticed by specialist keepers at the zoo a week ago, belong to a three-year-old Red-necked wallaby mom. They will remain in her pouch for around ten months, after which they will be officially recognised as being ‘born’.

Multiple births are so infrequent that the zoo’s Animal Manager, Peter Dillingham, has never personally witnessed twins sharing one pouch during his 39 year career. Although Peter has heard of twins a couple of times in the almost four decades he's been working with these animals, he has never actually seen any. They are thought to be the only ones in the UK and Europe at this time.

He said: “It is absolutely fantastic to finally see twins in one pouch and it has caused a real stir amongst staff and visitors here in Blackpool Zoo. It isn’t uncommon for wallabies to be pregnant and caring for two other ‘joeys’ at a time, one out of the pouch, one in the pouch. As soon as the one inside the pouch leaves another jelly bean sized baby makes its way through the birth canal and latches onto an internal teat until it is big enough to be seen.But to have two at the same time is very rare and we are looking forward to seeing them grow over the coming months.”

Twins 2 (1)

Photo Credit: Blackpool Zoo

Read more about Blackpool Zoo's wallabys after the jump:

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