Those venturing to Brookfield Zoo’s Tropic World: South America habitat can now be on the lookout for a new addition—a male giant anteater pup. Born on December 15, 2018, the pup spends the majority of his time hitching a ride on the back of his mom, Tulum. He will continue to do this for several more months, but as he gets older, he will begin to explore his surroundings on his own. For a schedule of when the pup can be seen, go to CZS.org/AnteaterPup.
The unnamed pup is the third for Tulum and dad, Lupito. Their other offspring, both females, were born in 2016 and 2015. They currently reside at other accredited North American zoos.
Giant anteaters are the largest of four anteater species. At birth, a pup is born with a full coat of hair. In the wild, the similar coloring between a pup and its mother offers camouflage as protection from predators. Anteaters typically weigh between 40 and 100 pounds. They have a long, narrow head; a 2-foot-long tongue, which allows them to eat thousands of ants and termites each day; and a long, bushy tail. Giant anteaters have very poor eyesight. However, they have a good sense of hearing and an excellent sense of smell. They use their hearing to know when a predator is approaching and use their sense of smell to find termite mounds and anthills.
The giant anteater is found throughout tropical areas of Central and South America. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the species is listed as vulnerable. Its population is declining primarily due to habitat loss, road kills, hunting, and wildfires. Brookfield Zoo is one of 63 accredited North American zoos to have giant anteaters. The current zoo population is 112. Brookfield Zoo has been caring for the species since 1958.
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