Schoenbrunn Zoo

And Babies (Meerkats) Make Three for Schönbrunn Zoo

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Crowds of visitors can be found jostling for space in front of the meerkat enclosure in Viennas' Schönbrunn Zoo. The reason for this is the three baby Meerkats with their black button eyes and snub noses that are beginning to discover their surroundings.

“The lively triplets were born on February 20th, but as Meerkats are blind and naked at birth they spend their first few weeks in the safety of their burrow” says Dagmar Schratter, the Zoo’s director, who is delighted about the offspring of this popular species. “With ten animals we now have a really extended meerkat family”

The three mini-meerkats are still being suckled by their mother but in a few weeks time the first insects will be added to their diet. The mother is not the only caregiver for the young animals. Meerkats live in social groups and each animal has clearly defined duties. Only a few days after their birth, a member of the clan assumes the role of “babysitter” and keeps an eye on the little ones while they play with each other, dig around in the sandpit or get up on their hind legs like tin soldiers. Meerkats belong to the mongoose family and live in the savannahs in the south of Africa.

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Photo Credits: Schönbrunn Zoo/ Norbert Potensky


Baby Sloth! Baby Sloth! At Schönbrunn Zoo

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On February 2, a brand new baby Two-toed Sloth came into the world at Schönbrunn Zoo. This is the third offspring of parents Alberta and Einstein, who have lived together in the zoo since 2006. After more than two weeks, the first pictures of the Austrian Zoo’s new addition have finally been revealed.

"Newborn two-toed sloths use the stomach of the mother as a cradle and climb, well camouflaged, into the cuddly fur. As a consequence the baby was very difficult to photograph," explained Zoo director Dagmar Schratter. 

As described by keepers, the little one has tousled hair, big black eyes and a nose like a wall socket. The little animal measures just under 8 inches (20 cm) and weighs less than a pound (400 grams). Its gender is not yet known. 

The slow moving animals originate from the South American rainforest where they feed off leaves, flower buds and fruit. The creatures get their name from their two toes with which they hang upside down, almost completely motionless, from the rainforest branches. They sleep in this position for a minimum of 14 hours every day! The development of the baby is almost as slow as their everyday lives, with the offspring only attempting to hang by themselves after six months.

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Photo Credit: Zoo Vienna


UPDATE! First Snow for Baby Panda

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You first read about Fu Hu, the baby panda born at Viennas' Schönbrunn Zoo, in our ZooBorns.com article back in November of 2010. 

Though born last year, he is experiencing the joy of romping in the first snow of his life because he spent all last winter in his birthing box. He pads through the snow-covered enclosure, climbs up the icy tree trunks and nosily sniffs the blanket of white. Neither he nor his parents, Yang Yang and Long Hui, have any fear of contact with the chilly and damp elements. Pandas live in the foggy and humid mountain forests of Southwest China and are very well adapted to cold and snow.

“Even the sole of their paws is covered in fur. This not only protects them against the cold it also prevents them from slipping on the snow and ice” explains the Zoo’s director, Dagmar Schratter.

Watching the Pandas play in the snow is bound to warm the heart of the Zoo’s visitors.

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Photo Credit: Daniel Zupanc

More photos after the jump!

Continue reading "UPDATE! First Snow for Baby Panda" »


Ever Heard of Food Flagging Frogs?

Tadpoles

These tiny tadpoles are a huge sensation at Schönbrunn Zoo, the first zoo to have succeeded in the breeding these food flagging frogs native to Borneo. Congratulations come from Professor Walter Hödl of the University of Vienna, one of the most renowned international amphibian specialists, saying: “This is the first breeding program world-wide!”

Food flagging frogs owe their name to the fact that they communicate by waving to each other. This habit comes from their adapting to their natural surroundings, as they live by roaring streams and waterfalls. In order to attract their fellows’ attention, they not only call but they also wave their hind legs. By doing this, they spread the coloured webs between their toes to emphasise their signals.

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Photo Credit: Photo 1 and 3 Schönbrunn Zoo/Norbert Potensky, Photo 2: Doris Preininger

Continue reading "Ever Heard of Food Flagging Frogs?" »


Austria's Newest Panda Baby Needs a Name

With so much excitement here in the U.S. over the new Panda baby at Zoo Atlanta, it's easy to overlook another bubbling panda baby born in Vienna Austria's Schonbrunn Zoo. Now just 11 weeks old, the the black and white ball of joy is ready to take a name. Schonbrunn has invited the public to vote among three choices. 1.) Fu Hu = happier Tigers (2010 is the Chinese Year of the Tiger.) 2.) Ao Kang = healthy Austrian boy and 3.) Wei Xing = joy of Vienna. The Giant Panda is endangered in the wild due to habitat loss and a very low birth rate.

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Photo credits: Schonbrunn Zoo

 


Extremely Rare Batagur Turtles

Long considered a "royal delicacy" in Cambodia, the Batagur turtle has been hunted to near extinction throughout Southeast Asia. Today the turtle is critically endangered and it is unclear where wild Batagurs still live. With the hatching of two baby Batagurs at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo last week, the total number of this rare species in captivity climbs to 20. To breed the rare turtles, a father and son team of herpetology experts, Peter and Reinger Praschag, were brought in to recreate just the right natural environment for egg laying.

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Photo credits and copyright: Photos 1 and 2 - Daniel Zupanc. Picture 3: Zoo Vienna / Norbert Potensky