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Two Rare Tayras Born at Prague Zoo!

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These two little female Tayras were born on August 8 at the Prague Zoo and are being successfully raised by their parents. Tayra babies are very rare. There are only three zoos in Europe who can actually breed this species. These babies are the second in the CZ; in 2011 the Prague Zoo bred them for the very first time in the history of Czech zoos. 

Two to four babies are the norm in a litter. These girls should grow to be about 24 inches (60 cm) long, plus an 18 inch (45 cm) tail. Most Tayras have either dark brown or black fur with a lighter patch on its chest. The fur on its head changes to brown or gray as it ages. Tayras grow to weigh an average of 11 pounds (5 kgms).

The Tayra is an omnivorous animal, from the weasel family. The species as a whole is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, but the northernmost subspecies, Eira barbara senex, is listed as Vulnerable. They live in the tropical forests of Central America, South America and on the island of Trinidad. Wild Tayra populations are slowly shrinking, especially in Mexico, due to habitat destruction for agricultural purposes. 



Photo Credit: Prague Zoo

Tayras travel both alone and in groups during both the day and the night. They are expert climbers, and can leap from treetop to treetop when pursued; they can also run fast and swim well. Tayras eat mainly rodents, but also consume carrion, other small mammals, reptiles, birds and fruits. They live in hollow trees, burrows in the ground, or terrestrial nests made of tall grass. Tayras are opportunistic eaters, hunting rodents and invertebrates, and climbing trees to get eggs and honey. In Central Brazil they are called "Papa Mel" (honey eater). They are attracted to fruit and can be found raiding orchards.