A baby Anteater was born in June at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. Keepers are not yet sure if the little one is male or female but once they are able to identify the gender, it will be named. Just over a month old, the pup currently weighs less than 5 pounds (2.26 kg) but will grow up to weigh more than 100 pounds (45 kg) -- just like its parents, Adelhi (mother) and Buddy (father).
Anteater babies nurse for six months and are carried on their mothers’ backs for up to a year. The baby is born with a full coat of fur and its color, texture and pattern almost completely blends in; by these means it's protected from predators. Once an adult, this newborn will use its 4-inch-long (10 cm) claws to open termite mounds. There its 2-foot-long (.60 m) tongue will come in handy, extending up to 150 times a minute to eat as many as 35,000 termites and ants per day!
Giant Anteaters are called so because they are the largest of the Anteater family. Found in the grasslands and lowland tropical forests in Central and South America, they are listed as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN due to loss of that habitat, and hunting. Only 5,000 animals estimated to remain in the wild.
Photo Credit: Busch Gardens Tampa