An aardvark pup was born at the Prague Zoo on Sunday July 10 just after nine o'clock in the morning. The now two-week-old pup drinks breast milk from its mother Kvída. According to keepers, it is active. At birth, the pup weighed 1,450 grams and measured 54 cm in length, which is a reasonable birth weight and size for aardvarks.
"We welcomed the little rascal into the world on Sunday at 9.12, the birth went quickly, the cub got its first drink from its mother at noon and now tries to drink every one to two hours. We don't know its gender yet, it will only be revealed by DNA analysis of hair samples," says Zoo director Miroslav Bobek, who is happy about the new addition.
Breeding aardvarks in human care is quite demanding. In the first days after birth, the breeders monitor them and their mother continuously, to ensure it drinks regularly and that the female does not, for example, lay on it it by mistake. The first four days of life are crucial for successful rearing.
"The female Kvída cares for her current offspring above the standard of her species - she lies down more often so that it can drink, licks it and thus stimulates it to urinate," says curator of ungulates Barbora Dobiášová.
Seventeen-year-old Kvída has so far successfully raised three cubs. The father of the current one, as with all the previous ones, is the thirteen-year-old male Draco. The first common offspring was bred seven years ago in 2015. A male, Kito lives today in Randers Zoo in Denmark. A year later, a female Nyota was born, who now lives in the Olomouc Zoo. The third pup bred in 2018 was a female Sawa, and she now lives in the Shepreth Wildlife Park in Great Britain.
This African mammal is active mainly at night, it sleeps in its burrow during the day. It also uses its strong claws to dig up termite mounds and anthills, the inhabitants of which it feeds on. This food specialization makes it a difficult species to breed. It is therefore one of the rarest breeds in human care. Aarvarks live solitary lives, which is why, apart from the mating season, the female Kvída and the male Draco also live separately in the Prague Zoo. For the peace of the cub and the mother, the exhibit is now temporarily covered. Visitors can continue to watch Draco in his separate quarters in the Africa pavilion in the upper part of the complex.