Reid Park Zoo celebrated a special arrival on April 22. A female Tamandua arrived on “Earth Day”, and in honor of the baby’s special birthday, she has been named Terra (Latin for “the planet earth”).
Reid Park Zoo is working in partnership with the Southern Tamandua SSP to place several of its Tamanduas, and to continue the Zoo’s breeding based upon the SSP recommendations. Reid Park Zoo’s Education Supervisor, Jennifer Stoddard, is also an education adviser for this vital program.
Though not on exhibit, the Zoo’s Tamanduas make regular appearances during education programs and formal presentations. They can also been seen going for informal walks, with the animal care staff, on zoo grounds.
The Southern Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla), also known as the “Collared Anteater” or “Lesser Anteater”, is a species of anteater from South America. It is native to Venezuela, Trinidad, northern Argentina, southern Brazil, and Uruguay at elevations to 1,600 m (5,200 ft.).
It is a solitary animal, found in many habitats from mature to secondary forests and arid savannas. It feeds on ants, termites, and bees. Its very strong fore claws can be used to break insect nests or to defend itself.
Mating generally takes place in the fall. Gestation ranges from 130 to 190 days, and usually one young is born. At birth, the young does not resemble its parents, its coat varies from white to black. The pup will ride on the mother's back for some time.
The species is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. Their main threat is being killed by hunters. Some hunters pursue the species with claims that the Tamanduas kill domestic dogs. They are also killed for the thick tendons in their tails, from which rope is made, and Tamanduas are sometimes used by Amazonian Indians as “organic” bug control in an effort to rid their homes of ants and termites.