Poland’s Warsaw Zoo is celebrating the birth of a baby Giant Anteater. The male baby was born on January 18, and is the fourth baby for the zoo’s breeding pair.
Female Giant Anteaters normally give birth to a single pup, which is born with its eyes closed. A pup rides on its mother’s back for several months. This offers not only free transportation for the pup, but excellent camouflage as well: the pup’s black and tan color bands line up perfectly with those of the mother, making the pup nearly invisible against mom's shaggy coat. By the time the pup is about ten months old, it is completely independent.
Native to much of South America, Giant Anteaters exploit a variety of habitats, from grasslands to rain forests. They are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of nature (IUCN), but they have been extirpated from parts of Uruguay, Belize, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. In the last decade, the population of wild Giant Anteaters has declined by about 30%.