BLOOMINGTON (WEEK) – The Miller Park Zoo is welcoming a new animal inside the animal collection.
A baby tamandua made its appearance June 18, marking the first time the zoo has seen this animal born, according to a release.
“We are really excited to have such a significant birth of a fascinating animal,” said Jay Tetzloff, Zoo Director.
The tamandua is being hand-raised because the mother did not show maternal instincts. Zoo staff is working tirelessly to monitor nutrition and proper development. The baby is being housed in the hospital so that the best care and attention is received.
A breeding pair of Southern Tamandua, also known as the Lesser Anteater, were imported and went on exhibit at the zoo in January. This is a significant birth due to the parents both being imported, thus bringing new genetics to the North American zoo population. The pair is on a breeding recommendation through the Association of Zoo and Aquariums Species Survival Plan.
Their range is from Venezuela and Trinidad to northern Argentina, southern Brazil and Uruguay. Tamanduas are nocturnal, and can spend more than half of their time in the treetops, where they forage for arboreal ants and termites. They have tapered heads with a long, tubular snout, small eyes, and protruding ears. Their tapered mouths house a tongue reaching upwards of 16 inches in length. The tail is hairless and pink in color, marked with an irregular pattern of black blotches. The forefeet possess four clawed digits, the third digit bearing the largest claw, while the hind feet have five digits.