SANTA ANA, Calif. – The Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park had a little extra to be thankful for this holiday season, a baby giant anteater.
The newest addition to the zoo was born on November 26, 2019 to mother “Heesoo of Troy” and father “Peter”. Mom and baby, whose sex has not yet been determined, have been bonding in their den off exhibit and both are doing well. As the baby gets bigger, mom and baby will spend more time outside on warm days with good weather. When they choose to go outside, guests will see the baby anteater riding on its mother’s back for a number of months, even after it begins exploring on its own.
Giant anteaters, Myrmecophaga tridactyla, are native to the grassy plains and rainforest borders of Central and South America. Most easily identified by their long, thin nose, anteaters are true insectivores eating copious amounts of ants, termites, and other insects which they dig up using the long, sharp claws of their front feet. At the zoo, our anteaters enjoy a “smoothie” of insect protein and fresh fruits and vegetables which mimics the nutritional value of their wild diet. Baby anteaters, called pups, are born with similar coloring and striping to adults, allowing them to instantly camouflage. The pup will ride on the mother’s back for up to 1 year as they grow to full size, before leaving to establish their own territory. Anteaters are generally solitary animals, coming together only to mate. Anteaters are listed as a threatened and vulnerable species due to ongoing threats of habitat loss and destruction, fire and poaching for fur. The Santa Ana Zoo is proud to be an active participant in collaborative giant anteater conservation programs, contributing to the maintenance of genetic diversity in managed populations and conservation of the species in the wild.
The anteaters can be viewed in the Tierra de las Pampas area of the zoo daily between 10:00AM and 4:00PM at the Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park. The Santa Ana Zoo is home to more than 150 animals, including entertaining and engaging monkeys, and several endangered species including the Golden Lion Tamarin.
To become a Member of the Zoo, please call (714) 953-8555 x13. The Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park is located at 1801 Chestnut Avenue, Santa Ana, CA 92701. For more information call 714-836-4000 or visit www.santaanazoo.org. For the latest on baby news and zoo happenings follow The Santa Ana Zoo on Facebook and Instagram.