Proud parents Andina and Eskil, who are both six years old, had their first baby at the end of July and the youngster can now be seen hitching a ride on its mother’s back!
Although the species is called the Giant Anteater, the pup weighs just 2kg and is around 50cm long from the tip of its impressive snout to the end of its already magnificent bushy tail!
Keepers have been unable to find out if the pup is a boy or a girl as they are leaving the mother to rear it naturally. With eye-catching black and white diagonal stripes on dense, shaggy hair the Giant Anteater family certainly stand out from the crowd.
Adam Kenyon, Section Head of Large Mammals, said: “We suspected that Andina was pregnant and we were delighted to find the little pup on the morning of 26th July when we did our early morning checks. The gestation period is around 180 days and for the next six to 12 months the adorable little one will be riding round on its mother’s back, which is such a lovely sight to see. Due to its unique markings it can be difficult to see it at first but a few visitors have already spotted our new addition! It is the first time we have ever had a Giant Anteater pup born at the Zoo and we are all hoping that this little one is the first of many!”
Giant Anteaters hail from the swamps, grasslands and humid forests of areas from Southern Belize to northern Argentina and they are the last living species to have evolved on South America when it was an isolated continent.
The species is the most threatened in South America and in some parts of the continent there has not been a sighting for many years.