The first anteater has been born in Prague!

News

05. 02. 2016


Prague Zoo is celebrating yet another breeding success. On Wednesday the 20th of January, a baby Giant Anteater was born; one of the most bizarre mammals on Earth. For Prague Zoo it is the first baby anteater born in its breeding history. The proud parents are female Ella and male Hannibal, who arrived at the zoo in summer 2014.

The baby holds tight on to its mother's thick fur. Photo: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo The baby holds tight on to its mother's thick fur. Photo: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo

A baby Giant Anteater is truly an exceptional sight. It looks like a miniature version of its parents, and spends the first few weeks on its mother's back. Thus, when visitors carefully focus on the female Ella, they will see the small anteater holding firmly on to her.

Ella and Hannibal came to Prague Zoo in the year 2014, after a twelve-year break in the breeding of Giant Anteaters. Ella comes from Warsaw, and Hannibal from Madrid. They both got used to their new environment quite quickly, but it took roughly three months for them to become fond of one another. A certain role in this may also have been played by the fact that, in nature, male anteaters are normally larger than females, but for the Prague pair it was the opposite case. Ella, who is now three years old, was roughly one quarter larger than Hannibal when she arrived, and weighed ten kilograms more, even though they are both the same age.

Ella, although she is a primipara, takes exemplary care of her baby, and, when she feels danger, actively defends it. The baby anteater currently weighs 1,990 grams, and is doing well. From Friday the 5th of February, visitors to Prague Zoo will be able to see him in the Exhibition of Giant Anteaters, which is located near the pelicans beside the Bororo Reserve. For now, the mother and baby spend most of their time in the delivery box, which will remain covered for some time. You can see them when Ella walks to the exhibition next door, where she gets fed around noon.

Giant Anteaters arrived in Prague Zoo in the 1950s, but attempts to breed them always ended in failure. That is why this year's baby is a huge success, and the breeders themselves are genuinely happy because of its birth.

Giant Anteaters have a very peculiar appearance. Their tubular snout conceals a long, sticky tongue up to 60 centimetres long. They specialize in collecting social insects, especially termites and ants, of which they can consume up to 30 thousand a day (in the zoo they are fed a special mash). They rake apart hard termite mounds using their strong, long claws.

The first baby Giant Anteater born in Prague Zoo. Photo: Miroslav Bobek, Prague ZooThe first baby Giant Anteater born in Prague Zoo. Photo: Miroslav Bobek, Prague Zoo