Zoo welcomes exotic new resident

January 6, 2019 by  

The Cincinnati Zoo welcomed a baby tamandua late last year, giving zoo officials and visitors a Christmas present they will never forget.

Tamanduas are a species of anteaters with long snouts, which enable them to discover bee, termite, and ant colonies, which they dig up with their claws. They also have sticky tongues that enable them to capture and eat the insects.

Keeper Colleen Lawrence said the zoo has been waiting for the baby tamandua for a long time, performing ultrasounds weekly since late summer. Tamanduas’ pregnancies can vary in length, from 130 to 190 days, so there was no accurate way of knowing when Isla, the mother, was going to give birth. When she did, Lawrence said she and other keepers were excited to meet the youngster, and to watch Isla learning how to take care of the baby, which is her first.

Staff at the zoo say the baby does not have a name yet, nor do they know the animal’s gender. Currently, Isla and her pup are in the Animal Ambassador Center, out of sight of the public. If everything goes according to plan, after a period of one or two months, keepers will open the Ambassador Center’s blinds slowly so visitors can greet the new arrival. Facility officials in situations like this might consider giving away promotional products to visitors, to remind them of their day.