For the second time in the facility’s history, a Giant Anteater has been born at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. Arriving on the evening of July 30, the little male is now nine pounds and was born after a 175-day gestation period.
Proud parents are second time dad, EO, and third time mom, Pana. The pair was brought to Connecticut’s only Zoo with the hopes of successful breeding, which occurred for the first time in 2016. Mother and baby are currently in seclusion most of the day, with brief forays into the outdoor habitat for fresh air and sunshine.
“Our fingers were crossed that our Giant Anteaters would repeat having another youngster, and we couldn’t be happier that the breeding was successful a second time,” explained Gregg Dancho, Zoo Director. “We encourage everyone to follow the baby’s growth and progress on our Facebook and Instagram pages until the baby is a bit larger.”
Mochilla, the pair’s first offspring, is now in residence at Alexandria Zoo in Louisiana.
When Pana and her son are outside, EO will not be allowed to be in the same habitat due to the mother’s protectiveness and the potential of the father hurting the baby. Pana and the baby will be outside for guests to view into the fall, alternating with EO.
The Giant Anteater parents arrived at the Zoo from Palm Beach Zoo in Palm Beach, Florida. Both Pana and EO are nine years old. They arrived in late May 2015 and are a highlight of the Pampas Plains habitat, which opened in August 2015. Featuring animals from the Pampas region of Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, the new exhibit represents phase one of the Zoo’s South American Adventure exhibit.
Giant Anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) can live up to 26 years old in human care and are usually solitary animals. They can weigh up to 100 pounds, and are five to seven feet long. Their home range is from southern Belize to northern Argentina and they live in grasslands, humid forests, and woodland areas.
Anteaters have one of the lowest body temperatures in the animal kingdom at 91 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit and can eat up to 30,000 ants per meal in the wild. The Latin name for Anteater is Vermillingua, meaning "worm tongue," which can be as long as two feet.