Baby Anteaters Hitch a Ride... on Mom
June 15, 2011
Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of two giant anteaters! The first, a male named Mochilo (above), was born on April 25 to mom Tiana. On May 6, mom Consuela gave birth to a female named Dulce, pictured below. Both babies are doing well and living with their mothers at the Zoo’s off-exhibit anteater breeding facility.
The babies will ride on their mom's back for up to a year, intermittently spending some time on the ground as they grow. This is for several reasons - one is protection from predators. They camoflague themselves by lining their shoulder stripe up with the mother's. It's also a way to keep up with their mother, who can cover a lot of ground moving from one termite mound to another, consuming up to 30,000 termites in a day. Though they nurse for about 12 months, they begin to supplement their diets with what she eats.
Photo Credit: Amiee Stubbs
Nashville Zoo, in Nashville Tennessee, has been involved in giant anteater conservation for 13 years and has the largest collection of anteaters in the country. The off-exhibit breeding facility is the only one of its kind in the United States. Giant anteaters are solitary animals from the tropical forests of Central and South America. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the giant anteater as vulnerable, although it is considered extinct in areas of Belize,Costa Rica, Guatemala and Uruguay.