What weighs 16 pounds, has a long snout, and is wrinkly all
over? The new Aardvark calf at Omaha’s
Henry Doorly Zoo!
The female calf, which was born on October 8, made her
public debut on December 27. Because her
mother has a history of not caring for her offspring, the calf is being
hand-reared by zoo staff. She is displayed next to her parents so she
can become familiar with their scent and vocalizations.
Photo Credit: Henry Doorly Zoo
Though the effort required to hand-rear an aardvark is
significant, it is definitely worthwhile: only
about 30 Aardvarks currently live in twelve accredited North American zoos.
Aardvarks live throughout sub-Saharan Africa, exploiting any
habitat where ants and termites are available.
Using their powerful front legs and claws, Aardvarks tear open insect mounds
and take up thousands of ants or termites with their long sticky tongues. Though
their skin appears fragile, it is in fact thick enough to withstand a flurry of
ant stings or termite bites with no harm to the Aardvark.
Zoo guests are invited to enter a contest to name the calf
when they visit her exhibit at the zoo.