The Zoo Boise red panda cubs, born June 21, 2021, were extremely active in the snow last week. Check out this video of the pair playing in the snow while it was still dark outside.
Zoo Boise has turned the act of visiting the zoo into a conservation action. Since 2007, visits to Zoo Boise have generated more than $3 million towards the conservation of animals in the wild, redefining why we have a zoo. Zoo Boise is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, a national organization that supports excellence in animal care, conservation, education, and science.
Zoo Boise, a division of Boise Parks and Recreation, is excited to announce the birth of three male baby sand cats. Proud parents Nala and Simba welcomed the kittens into the world on April 4, 2021.
This is both Nala and Simba’s first litter of kittens, these are the first sand cats ever born at Zoo Boise, and the first sand cats born in 2021 at a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). These births are not only important for Zoo Boise, but vital for the conservation of sand cats worldwide. There are only 51 sand cats in zoos accredited by the AZA, which means Zoo Boise is currently caring for 10 percent of the total population. Nala and Simba were paired together as part of the Sand Cat Species Survival Plan, a conservation program aimed at maintaining a healthy and genetically diverse population of sand cats in order to increase their numbers.
“This is an incredibly significant birth for the entire conservation community,” said Zoo Boise Director Gene Peacock. “The babies are doing well and we look forward to introducing them to the community.”
The sand cat kittens weighed an average of 90 grams each at birth. Combined, that’s only about half a pound. Full grown sand cats weigh between three and seven and a half pounds.
Sand cats, sometimes called sand dune cats, are found in the arid deserts of Africa’s Sahara desert, the Arabian Peninsula and parts of central Asia. Even though they are very small, that doesn’t stop them from being ferocious. Sand cats are opportunistic hunters and have been known to attack and consume venomous snakes.
You can visit the sand cats at Zoo Boise’s Small Animal Kingdom. However, you most likely will not be able to see the new babies for a few more weeks because they are still in the den box. As mom Nala feels comfortable, she will slowly allow her kittens to start exploring their new exhibit.
Zoo Boise has turned the act of visiting the zoo into a conservation action. Since 2007, visits to Zoo Boise have generated more than $3 million towards the conservation of animals in the wild, redefining why we have a zoo. Zoo Boise is a division of Boise Parks and Recreation and is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, a national organization that supports excellence in animal care, conservation, education, and science.
Zoo Boise is currently open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a set number of tickets available each day to meet current group size requirements. Tickets must be reserved in advance and a timed entry process has been implemented to reduce lines and allow for physical distancing. Please note, due to the current Public Health Order in place in the City of Boise, face coverings are required when visiting the zoo. For more information regarding ticketing, other health and safety protocols and to reserve tickets, visit www.zooboise.org/online-ticketing.
Zoo Boise is happy to announce the birth of a Giant Anteater pup. The baby was born July 6 and is now starting to venture outside with its mother, Gloria. After a few weeks of privacy inside their barn, the two anteaters are starting to explore their outdoor exhibit for short periods of time and may be viewable to zoo visitors.
Photo Credits: Zoo Boise
With the exception of mothers with offspring, anteaters are generally solitary animals. Anteater Dad, McCauley, can be found in a separate exhibit next to Gloria and their pup. Keepers will verify the sex of the pup during its first veterinarian exam. After that, they will decide upon a name for the new anteater.
During their first year, giant anteater pups will spend much of their time riding on their mothers’ backs. Born with a full coat of fur, the pup is able to blend in with its mother so that predators cannot easily see it. The pup will stay with its mother until it is full-grown, between one and two years of age.
Also known as the Ant Bear, the Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) is a large insectivorous mammal native to Central and South America. It is one of four living species of anteaters and is classified with sloths in the order Pilosa. The species is mostly terrestrial, in contrast to other living anteaters and sloths, which are arboreal or semi arboreal.
The Giant Anteater can be found in multiple habitats, including grassland and rainforest. It forages in open areas and rests in more forested habitats. It feeds primarily on ants and termites, using its fore claws to dig them up and its long, sticky tongue to collect them. They can eat up to 30,000 insects in one day! Though Giant Anteaters live in overlapping home ranges, they are mostly solitary.
The species is the largest of its family: 5.97 to 7.12 feet (182-217 cm) in length, weights up to 73 to 90 lbs. (33-41 kg) for males, and 60 to 86 lbs. (27-39 kg) for females. The Giant Anteater is recognizable by its elongated snout, bushy tail, long fore claws, and distinctively colored pelage.
Twin Red Panda cubs born on June 18 at Zoo Boise made their media debut last week. The cubs, a male and a female, are the fifth litter born to parents Dolly and Winston.
Photo Credit: Zoo Boise
Just five weeks old, the cubs still spend most of their time in the den with Dolly, but will soon being to emerge for short periods of time. The cubs have not yet been named.
Native to the eastern Himalaya mountains, Red Pandas live in forested foothills at relatively high elevations. They feed primarily on bamboo, but also eat berries, flowers, roots, mushrooms, eggs, and small birds.
Red Pandas typically breed only once per year, usually in January or February, and cubs are born in June or July. The cubs remain with their mother in a hollow tree for several months before emerging to explore the forest.
Because their wild habitat is vanishing due to deforestation, Red Panda populations are in decline. In some areas of their range, poaching is a significant threat. Red Pandas are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Zoo breeding programs like the Species Survival Plan aim to maintain a high level of genetic diversity in zoo populations to help preserve this species for the future.
Zoo Boise is excited to share photos of their two new Ruwenzori Long-Haired Fruit Bat pups.
The two elusive boys are currently staying close to their mothers, which makes photography of the newborns a bit more challenging.
Photo Credits: Zoo Boise
Ruwenzori Long-Haired Fruit Bats are important tree pollinators. For example, the baobab tree depends on bat pollination for survival. As the bat reaches into a flower to get nectar, pollen rubs onto their foreheads. This pollen is left on the next flower they visit.
Fruit Bats (or Megabats) constitute the suborder Megachiroptera, and its only family Pteropodidae of the order Chiroptera. They are native to Africa, Asia, Australia and the South Pacific, and are represented by 166 species. In North America, about twelve species of Megachiroptera are managed in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions. These bats can be divided into three different groups, based on ability to echolocate and roosting behaviors: 1) megabats with audible echolocation; 2) megabats that cannot echolocate and roost in dense cover in small groups; and 3) megabats that cannot echolocate and roost in larger groups in tree canopies.
In North America, two species of Rousette Fruit Bats are commonly housed in zoological collections: the Egyptian Fruit Bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus) and the Ruwenzori Long-Haired Fruit Bat (Rousettus lanosus). These fruit bats are nocturnal and feed predominately on fruit, flower resources and leaves. In captivity, Rousette Fruit Bats will also consume mealworms (Tenebrio molitor). In the wild, Rousette Fruit Bats roost in large crowded colonies, in caves. These cave-dwelling bats have a rudimentary echolocation system, based on audible tongue clicking for navigation. When feeding, these bats rely on vision and sense of smell for locating food resources.
Zoo Boise announced the December 8 birth of a Giant Anteater pup. The female pup is now starting to explore the outdoors with her mother, Gloria. Because Giant Anteaters are native to warmer climates, mother and pup have spent the last few months in their heated barn. The pup will stay with her mother until she is full grown at about two years old.
Photo Credit: Monte Stiles
During their first year of life, Giant Anteater pups will spend much of their time riding on their mothers’ backs. Born with full coats of fur, the pups are able to blend in with their mothers’ coats to avoid predation.
Giant Anteaters are native to Central and South America. They have no teeth, but use their long, sticky tongues to gather insects – often ants – by the thousands. Giant Anteaters are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
There's a new Red Panda cub at Zoo Boise. This little male was born on June 15 to first-time parents Dolly and Winston. He has spent all his time in an off-exhibit den with his mother, who has done an excellent job of caring for him. He snoozes a lot, like most newborns do, while he develops more each day. He will grow to be the size of a house cat, though his tail will become big and bushy and add up to an additional 18 inches (46 cm) in length to his body.
Soon he will make his way out to explore the exhibit for short stints, when visitors can hope to catch a glimpse of him. He is the third Red Panda to be born at the zoo, and the newest addition to the zoo's most "reproductive" year ever. Red Pandas live in the mountains of Nepal and northern Myanmar (Burma), as well as in central China. They forage most actively at dusk and in the evening, and spend most of their time in the trees, even when they nap.
Parents Dolly and Winston are part of the Red Panda Species Survival Program, a breeding program for certain Endangered or Threatened species that helps maintain a genetically diverse, strong animal population within zoos.
baby Snow Leopards born at Zoo
Boise have an important job in a national conservation program. The cubs, a male and a female, were born May 23
to parents Kabita and Tashi, and are the first Snow Leopards ever born at the
Photo Credit: Monte Stiles
their wild counterparts, the cubs are spending their first few weeks in a den
with their mother. As they grow and develop, they will emerge from the den to
explore their exhibit for short periods of time.
a first-time mother, Kabita is doing a fantastic job of caring for the cubs. Zoo
staff members have been giving Kabita as much privacy as possible to ensure
that she does not become stressed and continues to take excellent care of the
The birth of these cubs is a significant achievement for Zoo Boise and for Snow Leopard conservation. Tashi and Kabita were paired as part of the Snow Leopard
Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP is one of the Association of Zoos and
Aquariums’ many conservation programs. The SSP's goal is to maintain a healthy and genetically diverse population and to
protect wild habitats for the species. Snow Leopards are Endangered in their Central Asian mountain habitat.
At Zoo Boise, Striped Skunks Figaro and Cleo are stars of the zoo's special animal presentations. On April 30th, the pair also became the parents of six little kits. The four males and two females just recently started to open their eyes. Once mature and independent, they will move to other zoos. In the meantime, the kits may join their parents in animal presentations at the zoo, depending on their mother and on their healthy development.
Zeus and Athena, a pair of North American Porcupines at Zoo Boise, had a porcupette on April 8th. The male baby hasn't been named yet. He is doing very well under the care of his mother Athena, and is on exhibit at the zoo. He weighed 517 grams at birth, and had gained 300 grams by his checkup just two weeks later.
The little male is the second porcupette to be born at Zoo Boise: in July 2012, Olympus ("Oly") was born to the same pair. Mostly arboreal, Athena spends most of her day sleeping in the trees while her baby stays on the ground. She comes down to care for him and to sleep near him at night. Within a few weeks, the porcupette will begin to eat vegetation and will learn to climb trees with her.
Photo credits: Zoo Boise
Porcupettes are born with open eyes and soft quills which harden within thirty minutes after birth. Contrary to popular belief, porcupines do no shoot or throw their quills as a defense. When attacked, a porcupine will tuck its head between its front paws and turn so their quills face the attacker. The hollow air-filled quills fall out of the porcupine’s skin easily. One North American porcupine can have as many as 30,000 quills.