1989 Aardvark

Breeding successes

Zoo Praha  |  16. 10. 2023

First to be bred in Czechoslovakia, second in Europe

Photo: Vladimír Motyčka, Prague Zoo Photo: Vladimír Motyčka, Prague Zoo

First to be bred in Czechoslovakia, second in Europe

Aardvarks have always been relatively rare in zoos and to breed them in captivity is still considered a great success. If visitors are to be able to see them, then their quarters must be adapted, as they are nocturnal animals preferring to sleep in a dark burrow during the day. The enclosure must also withstand their extremely strong limbs ending in strong claws, which can even break open the solid walls of a termite mound. In addition, they have high dietary needs.

Photo: Archiv Prague Zoo

Prague Zoo has also wrestled with all these issues. The first pair of aardvarks arrived in 1979, but they were two females, named Bojsa and Nebojsa. It was much later, in 1987, that Bojsa, who was now alone, was joined by the male Tata. They got along very well and began to breed almost immediately. It was their third cub, born in 1989, which was successfully reared. Since it is difficult to sex aardvark cubs, it was originally named Adela, as it was thought to have been a female. The fact that it was a male was not discovered until the aardvark was fully grown. He was followed by a female, Snuffy, in 1994. Since then, the zoo has seen several other aardvarks come and go and has managed to raise more cubs – the most recent addition was in 2022, a female that can now be seen in Pilsen Zoo.​