Watch Out for That Tongue! Baby Anteater Debuts at St. Louis Zoo
November 22, 2012
Who's that draped across her mother’s back? Blending in with the stripes and long hair is Sabia (pronounced sah-BEE-ya), a baby Giant Anteater born at the Saint Louis Zoo on August 14. She just made her public debut with Mom in early November.
With a long snout and black-and-white stripes, she’s a miniature version of her parents – mother Wendy, age 15, born at Phoenix Zoo and father Willie, age 11, born at Oklahoma City Zoo. This is the second baby for the parents, whose first was born in 2005. She weighed just 3 pounds (453 grams) at birth but is growing nicely, nursing from mom as she will for a total of 6 months. In the video below you get a look at her very long tongue, which she will use once she begins to eat.... ants!The tongue of an anteater will extend up to two feet to capture their prey.
Giant Anteaters are in danger of extinction in the wild. They've disappeared from most of their historic range in Central America -- victims of habitat loss. In South America, these animals are often hunted as trophies or captured by animal dealers.
Photo Credit: Rachael Macy/St. Louis Zoo
Adult Giant Anteaters are the largest of the four Anteater species and can grow up to be 50 inches long, adding 25 to 35 inches of fan-like tail. After a pregnancy of six months, anteaters give birth to a single baby who will stay with the mother until it reaches maturity - for up to two years. The newborn must learn to crawl up on the mother’s back to rest while mom looks for food. Adult giant anteaters will eat up to 30,000 ants in one day.