Rodent

Loving Hands for Springhare Baby

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On August 3, Antwerp Zoo, in Belgium, welcomed a delicate new Springhare in their animal nursery!  The tiny creature’s mother, Mel, showed a healthy curiosity in her new baby, but failed to nurse.  Keepers are now working round the clock, hand-feeding the new baby.

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Springhare_antwerp_1Photo Credits: Antwerp Zoo

The new Springhare at Antwerp Zoo is being kept in a darkened room, inside a special incubator.  Keepers feed the fragile baby every two hours with a small syringe of puppy milk, and its diet is supplemented with fennel tea, which is good for intestines. The baby is also weighed regularly to ensure the food intake is successful.

If the love and attention it receives during hand-feeding goes well, the baby Springhare will next be moved to a nesting box. There, it will be warmed with stones and a heat lamp. The baby would also be introduced to solids, and he would hopefully be weaned in a matter of about 70 days. 

Native to South Africa, the nocturnal, tunnel-digging Springhare is not a hare, but is a member of the order ‘Rodentia’. Although, 20 years ago they were classified on the IUCN Red List as “Vulnerable”, their outlook has improved to a level of “Least Concern”.

See more photos below the fold.

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Naked Mole Rat Pups Are a First on ZooBorns!

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Here’s a first for the pages of ZooBorns:  A litter of Naked Mole Rats, born December 16 at Hungary’s Zoo Budapest.

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Photo Credit:  Zoo Budapest

Nearly hairless and covered in wrinkly pink skin, Naked Mole Rats are one of only two mammal species known to be eusocial – they live in highly organized societies similar to those of ants, termites, or bees.  The only female in a colony to reproduce is known as the queen, and only a few males breed with her.  The rest of the colony assumes roles as workers.  They obtain food and maintain the complex system of underground tunnels in which the Naked Mole Rats live.

Native to eastern Africa, Naked Mole Rats feed underground on roots and tubers. A single tuber can sustain a colony for months.  Scientists are studying these unique animals because they appear resistant to cancer, live extraordinarily long for a mammal their size – upwards of 30 years – and seem to repress aging. Recent discoveries of natural sugars and proteins produced by Naked Mole Rats, which could aid in human disease research, resulted in the Naked Mole Rat being named “Vertebrate of the Year” by the journal Science in 2013.


Hutia Babies Hitch a Ride

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Riding on the back of their mother, three Cuban Hutia babies born November 7 are charming visitors at Munich Zoo Hellabrunn.

When they’re not hitching a ride, the mouse-sized babies snuggle up with mom and peek at the Agoutis and Parrots that share their enclosure.  The babies have been named Nikita, Nicki and Nicol.

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Photo Credit:  Munich Zoo Hellabrunn 

The triplets are the first of their species to be born at the zoo in 12 years.  Five-year-old Fidel, the father, was introduced to female Morena last year. 

Morena and Fidel will look after Nikita, Nicki and Nicol for about six months and teach them how to climb and groom each other.

As their name implies, Cuban Hutia are found on the island of Cuba.  They are small herbivorous rodents, similar to Cavies.  Hutia are active during the day and are very social animals; thanks to their strong claws they are excellent climbers and diggers. About 20 species of Hutia once lived on various Caribbean islands; seven species are extinct, with the remaining species listed as Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  


San Diego Zoo's Pacific Pocket Mouse Nibbles on a Leafy Snack

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A Pacific Pocket Mouse at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park enjoyed a late-night snack in the zoo's off-exhibit breeding facilities. The mouse is part of the first-ever breeding program of the critically endangered species. The program has yielded five litters of pups since June. Pacific Pocket Mice are nocturnal animals. True to the name, these mice are pocket sized—they weigh less than 9 grams. Aside from the occasional lettuce, they eat seeds and have been known to eat insects. Interestingly, these rodents don't drink water. Instead, they are hydrated from the vegetation they eat. The breeding program is managed by the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife services. Scientists are working to increase the overall population and to maintain genetic diversity within the native-Californian species.


Baby Springhares Hop Into Zoo Berlin

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Two South African Springhares hopped onto the scene at Zoo Berlin this winter:  One was born on December 14, and the other arrived on January 12. 

Because Springhares are nocturnal, they live their days in reverse at the zoo.  Daytime exhibit lights are dimmed to moonlight levels so zoo guests can see the Springhares when they are most active.  At night, when the rest of the zoo goes dark, the lights come up and the Springhares go to sleep. 

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In the wild, Springhares burrow into tunnels during the day, plugging the entrance with loose soil, and forage on leaves and tubers at night.   When threatened, Springhares retreat to their burrows for safety. 

With powerful back legs for jumping, Springhares can leap more than 15 feet (5m).  They are one of the largest of all rodents, and are hunted for food by indigenous peoples in Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.  Despite being extensively hunted, Springhares are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

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Photo Credit:  Zoo Berlin

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Cavy Pup Sitting Pretty

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A two week old Patagonian Cavy is the latest addition to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo.  The yet-to-be named pup joins its parents and older sister in the Tisch Children’s Zoo. 

Though they look like rabbits, Cavies are rodents whose closest relatives are guinea pigs. Cavies are the fourth largest rodent in the world, reaching about 18 inches in height. They are common in the Patagonian steppes of Argentina and other areas of South America.

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher/WIldlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide, through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony.  WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. 

You can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places at wcs.org!

 


Baby Beaver Twins Start Swimming Lessons

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The Jackson Zoo in Mississippi has recently added to their animal family with two baby beavers named Philly and Billy. Their appearance surprised to their keepers those two subsequent mornings of July 1 and 2; They suspected the female would give birth at some time soon because of her swollen mammary glands.The parents were hand-raised rescue animals that the Zoo obtained in 2006. Philly and Billy are just now venturing outside their den to swim with mom. Previous to that, they were sticking close to their parents deep within the nest box.

"If you do not see them outside, take a peek through the viewing window into the den where they continue to nurse and grow," said zoo staff. They have a beautiful outdoor exhibit so visitors may see them swimming in their pond. While their sex is not known yet, the vet does plan to give them their first physical very soon. 

The Jackson Zoo reported: "Pictures are hard to get because the babies have been sticking close to mom deep in their den."

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Photo Credit: Jackson Zoo

American Beavers are not endangered but were once hunted to the brink of extinction for their pelts. Beavers live throughout North American and Europe. Known as the most skilled builders of all animals, their dams stop flowing water and create wetlands. That in turn provides habitats for frogs, turtles, birds, ducks, fish and other mammals. Because of this, the species is viewed as being critial to the health and stability of wetland environments.


World’s Largest Rodent Born at Paignton Zoo

On August 18th, the UK's Paignton Zoo welcomed a baby Capybara to parents David and Davina. Sometimes called a the Giant Guinea Pig, these massive rodents can grow four feet long (a rodent of unusual size perhaps?). Capybaras love to lounge, and even sleep, in swamps and rivers with only their eyes and nostrils poking out.

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Baby capybara Paignton Zoo 1

Baby capybara Paignton Zoo 1

Family portrait

Baby capybara Paignton Zoo 1

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Three Patagonian Cavy Pups

Three Patgonian Cavy (also known as Mara) pups have been born under the watchful eye of keepers at Shepreth Wildlife Park this month. The triplets have caused quite a stir at the Cambridgeshire wildlife collection, which has never had triplets born in this species before. Normally this species will give birth to singles or twins. The healthy trio can be seen alongside fellow oversized rodents - two resident Capybara brothers.

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Patagonian cavies shepreth wildlife park 3

Patagonian cavies shepreth wildlife park 3


Prairie Pups Are Out in Force

It's baby prairie dog season at the Nuremberg Zoo in Germany and, lucky for us, photographer dark-ness spent two days there capturing prarie dogs doing what they do best: eating and greeting one another. As we mentioned in a previous post, prairie dogs live in "towns" of tens of thousands or more and touch noses to say hello.

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Open wide!

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More pics below the fold.

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