The staff at Roger Williams Park Zoo & Carousel Village in Providence, Rhode Island, are thrilled to make an announcement on behalf of two new parents.
“Welcome to the world, baby tamandua!” wrote the staff at Roger Williams Park Zoo & Carousel Village on Facebook.
The as-of-yet unnamed male pup was born on May 6. By the way, if you aren’t familiar with southern tamanduas, they are arboreal (living in trees) relatives of anteaters.
“Tamandua mom Carina, and dad Salvador, reside with their new pup in the Faces of the Rainforest habitat,” explained the staff at Roger Williams Park Zoo & Carousel Village. “The pup continues to bond with mom behind-the-scenes as the zoo’s animal care staff and veterinary team continue to monitor them, performing daily wellness checks to ensure healthy development.”
If you’re wondering about Carina and Salvador’s courtship, they were paired as a result of a recommendation from the Southern Tamandua Species Survival Plan Program, in cooperation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. That recommendation was made to “establish and maintain a healthy and genetically diverse population,” zoo staff explained.
What You Need To Know About Tamanduas
Southern tamanduas are found throughout much of South America. The word tamandua roughly translates into “insect eater,” which is only natural considering their diet, according to About Animals.
Because they are highly adaptable, they can be found in forests, savannas, tropical rainforests, scrub forests, and mangroves, typically near streams and rivers, according to Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute.
Tamanduas, as you would expect, mostly eat arboreal ants and termites, although they have been known to also eat bees and honey. They use their sharp claws and prehensile tails to climb trees searching for those insects. Interestingly enough, the underside of their tails doesn’t have fur. This helps tamanduas better grip tree branches with their tails as they climb trees.
While tamanduas don’t have teeth, they do have a 16-inch-long tongue that is sticky, which enables them to lick up insects. Amazingly, an adult tamandua can eat up to 9,000 ants in a day, according to Roger Williams Park Zoo & Carousel Village staff.
Southern tamanduas, which typically live about 9 years and weigh about 10 pounds, are generally between 21 and 31.5 inches long, not counting their tails. Those tails are an additional 15–23 inches long, Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute explains.
How To Visit The Tamandua Family
Eventually, the tamandua pup will begin making public appearances with its parents in the zoo’s Faces of the Rainforest habitat. You can learn more about the zoo, including how to plan a visit, here.
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