On May 12, Bioparc Valencia announced a rare birth: a baby Aardvark was born!
The baby joins a family of mom, dad, and two siblings. For now, mom and baby have private living quarters so they can properly bond and rest. Keepers report that mom and baby appear to be doing well, and they check on the pair often during these critical early weeks. Twice a day, the baby is inspected and weighed to make sure it is gaining weight at a steady pace.
Eventually, mom and baby (who keepers suspect is a female) will join the family in the outdoor habitat, where they spend the evenings digging holes in search of insects as they would in the wild.
At birth, baby Aardvarks weigh about three pounds and have droopy ears and hairless, wrinkled skin. As the baby grows, the wrinkles gradually disappear and the ears are held upright. Body hair starts to appear at five to six weeks of age.
Aardvarks are native to sub-Saharan Africa and spend their days hidden in burrows. At night, they emerge and search for ants and termites to eat. Aardvarks’ huge claws dig small trenches in the soil as they sniff and listen for insect activity. Using the long, sticky tongue, Aardvarks lick up thousands of ants and termites – as many as 50,000 per night.
Bioparc Valencia houses the only reproductive group of Aardvarks in Spain.