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Giant Anteater Baby Hitches Year-Long Ride (On Mom)

Back Ronald van Weeren

Late Friday night, Amsterdam's Atris Zoo welcomed its third baby Giant Anteater. The delivery took a little over an hour, after which the baby climbed on the back of its mother, where it will spend the better part of its first year of anteater life. The young are almost invisible to predators on their mothers' backs, as the stripes of mother and baby naturally blend together. 

Giant Anteaters have a remarkably long snout, a 60 inch tongue and long claws on the forelegs. The gestation period of the great anteater is about six months.

On back, Ronald van Weeren

Tongue, Ronald van Weeren

Photo Credit: Ronald van Weeren

This is good news for the international breeding program for this critically endangered species which plays a prominent role in Artis. The Giant Anteater ( Myrmecophaga tridactyla ) is a critically endangered species. Hunting, traffic and destruction of their habitat are the cause. Artis plays an important role in the European breeding to prevent extinction of the great anteater. Anteater Potay came from Argentina came to the zoo for mating in 2008. The arrival of Potay was the result of collaboration with the Artis zoo in Florencio Varela in Buenos Aires. Since 2004 the Artis Zoo supports with money and knowledge that a collection and breeding center could be set. Here, injured and orphaned large anteaters then collected in a national park to be expelled. In addition, an educational center has been built in Argentina to inform the public about the importance of protecting the Giant Anteater.