BRIDGEPORT – For the first time in zoo history, a giant anteater has been born at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo.
The anteater was born on Saturday, February 13 and weighed just under two and half pounds. The baby is now just over 14 inches and was born after a 175-day gestation period. The gender of the baby is unknown at the current time due to the difficulty in determining this at such a young age.
Proud parents are first-time dad “EO” and second time-mom, “Pana.” The pair was brought to the zoo with the hopes of successful breeding. Currently, Pana and her baby are off exhibit with plans for a public debut later this year.
“Our fingers were crossed that our giant anteaters would have babies and we couldn’t be happier that the breeding was successful,” said Gregg Dancho, zoo director, in a statement. “We encourage everyone to follow the baby’s growth and progress on our social media pages until the time comes for it to meet the public.”
Female anteaters give birth to one offspring and the baby rides on mom’s back for the first several months of life, occasional venturing off not too far from mom to explore its surroundings. For the first week, mom will spend most of her time sleeping while bonding occurs and the baby gains strength and weight.
When Pana and her baby go on exhibit, EO will not be allowed to be in the same exhibit due to Pana’s protectiveness and the potential of EO hurting the baby. EO will be on exhibit elsewhere on zoo grounds. The baby will be on exhibit thru the summer season and into the fall.
The giant anteater parents came to Beardsley from Palm Beach Zoo in Palm Beach, Florida. Both Pana and EO, are six years old. They arrived in late May 2015 and are a highlight of the Pampas Plains exhibit, which opened in August 2015.
Anteaters can live up to 26 years old in captivity and are usually solitary animals. They can weigh up to 100 pounds, and are five-seven feet long. Their home range is from southern Belize to northern Argentina and they live in grasslands, humid forests, and woodland areas.