Last week, Antwerp Zoo in Belgium welcomed a pink, wrinkly and bald bundle of joy. Born to mom Curly, the baby Aardvark is recieving around the clock care from keepers. Though its upright ears and weight are a sign of good health, nursing has been a challenge for Curly. The cub feeds every three hours, and the keepers must often hand-nurse. Currently the sex of the cub is unknown. Once the sex has been determined, a name will be selected.
There are currently 45 Aardvarks in zoos throughout Europe and only about 30 in the US. Aadrvarks are native to sub-Saharan African, where they eat ants, termites, fruits and other insects. The name Aardvark comes from the Afrikaans word "erdvark", meaning "earth pig", likely due to the animals ability to dig and burrow.
Sporting a wrinkly pink birthday-suit (standard issue for a baby Aardvark), Busch Gardens Tampa Bay's newest resident took one of its first outdoor strolls yesterday. The cub, whose sex is still unknown, is the third for prolific mother and father, Izzy and Frtiz. Sister, Adazee, and brother, Zawadi, were both featured on ZooBorns when they were born in March 2012 and April 2011 respectively. The cub is primarily being cared for by its mother but Busch Gardens' staff are also providing a bit of support as adult Aardvarks have a reputation for clumsy parenting.
Powerful diggers, Aardvarks can slurp up tens of thousands ants or termites in a single night and grow up to 120lbs or more. Follow the cub's progress on Busch Gardens' blog.
Photo credits (above): Adam Lewis / Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
With ears like a bunny, a body a bit like a pig and a tail like a kangaroo, the Aardvark is quite an unusual animal. This pink baby Aardvark was born on January 14 at Bioparc Valencia, perhaps with a face that only a mother could love. This is a very special event, since it is the first Aardvark ever born in Spain. It weighed 3.4 pounds (1.580 kg) at birth and now, at two weeks old, has already reached 5.8 pounds (2.650 kg). The sex is still unknown.
Since this is an important baby, keepers have kept a careful watch via video installed in the nesting area. They are letting Mom do her job, and she's doing it well. But when she leaves to eat, zoo staff has their opportunity to check the baby, performing a total check on its progress: weight, nutrition, cleaning, and even moisturizing it's skin if needed. This monitoring is performed every three hours, while keeping an eye on temperature and humidity in the habitat. They also watch to see that the baby is nursing roughly every 2 hours. The baby is healthy and growing stronger every day.
Photo Credit: Bioparc Valencia
The baby's parents are Dad, Charly, 4 years old, and Mom, Danny, who is 8 years old. Typically the gestation period is about 243 days and there is usually only one offspring, which feeds during the day while the mother sleeps. Since Aardvarks are nocturnal, in the wild a youngster stays alone at night in the deep caves dug by the mother, where it stays warm and safe from predators while she leaves to forage for food. Young remain with their mothers for about 6 months before moving out to dig their own burrows with their powerful feet and claws. This mammal is an omnivore and so will use those same claws to dig for food - mostly termites - which they then extract with their long tongues.
Here is the most recent video of the baby with mom:
Read more Aardvark facts, and watch an early video of the baby nursing, after the fold:
The female calf, which was born on October 8, made her
public debut on December 27. Because her
mother has a history of not caring for her offspring, the calf is being
hand-reared by zoo staff. She is displayed next to her parents so she
can become familiar with their scent and vocalizations.
Photo Credit: Henry Doorly Zoo
Though the effort required to hand-rear an aardvark is
significant, it is definitely worthwhile: only
about 30 Aardvarks currently live in twelve accredited North American zoos.
Aardvarks live throughout sub-Saharan Africa, exploiting any
habitat where ants and termites are available.
Using their powerful front legs and claws, Aardvarks tear open insect mounds
and take up thousands of ants or termites with their long sticky tongues. Though
their skin appears fragile, it is in fact thick enough to withstand a flurry of
ant stings or termite bites with no harm to the Aardvark.
Zoo guests are invited to enter a contest to name the calf
when they visit her exhibit at the zoo.
Colchester Zoo continued its incredible Aardvark breeding success with the birth of an eighth baby, the seventh for mama Aardvark Oq! Colchester Zoo Curator Lisa Doran reported that “Both mum and baby are doing well and baby is a very large and healthy size.”
Oq and baby are currently housed in the birthing burrow whilst the baby grows strong. They will be able to return to the rest of the group within approximately a month, when the youngster will be strong enough to survive any bumps from the rest of the group who are notoriously clumsy.
Aardvarks are native to Africa living mainly in the sub-Saharan areas. Their habitat is generally grasslands and open woodland and their diet consists of ants, termites, fruit and other insects.
Anthony Tropeano, Zoological Director at Colchester Zoo said, “We are delighted to have another success with our breeding group of Aardvarks and very proud of the breeding record to date. Our dedicated keepers are watching the new baby round the clock to ensure that it is thriving and we very much hope that it continues to do well.”
Busch Gardens welcomed its newest resident earlier this week: an adorable Aardvark born Monday, March 26. The healthy baby weighs about 4.8 pounds and is expected to grow to more than 120 lbs. within its first year.
It is currently living behind the scenes at Jambo Junction – located in the Nairobi area of the park – and is receiving care from members of the animal care team. The baby will join mom “Izzy” and dad “Friz” in the upcoming weeks and will be an Animal Ambassador for the park, along with its older brother “Zawadi,” who will be a year old on April 10.
There are fewer than 40 aardvarks in zoos in North America. They are solitary by nature, and Aardvark births are not common.
Photo credits: Matt Marriott/Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Chicago's Brookfield Zoo is happy to announce the birth of an Aardvark on January 12, 2012. Because of the dedicated care provided by the Society’s zookeepers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and nutritionist, the now healthy 13-pound calf has a bright future ahead of it. Although the calf will not be on exhibit for several months, zoo guests will be able to view it via a live video monitor In the near future.
Photo credits: Brookfield Zoo
A newborn Aardvark, which weighs about 4½ pounds at birth, is very fragile for its first few weeks of life. To ensure its best chance for survival, Animal Programs staff decided to assist the calf’s 7-year-old mom, Jessi, in rearing her infant. Since its birth, the unsexed calf has received around-the-clock care that has included a neonatal examination and extra hydration and supplemental feeding when needed to make certain it is healthy and gaining the proper amount of weight. The supplemental Aardvark formula the calf receives replicates the fat, carbohydrates, and other nutrients of a mother Aardvark's milk composition.
ZOO Antwerp welcomed a baby Aardvark on the 6th January. The Belgian Zoo has given the young "earth pig" (yes, Aardvark means earth pig!) the name Nuru, meaning born in the daylight. Producing enough mother's milk is a challenge for four time Aardvark mom Curly. So far, so good for baby Nuru, however. Keepers have noted Nuru's ears standing upright as an indicator of great health.
This young male aardvark was born at Busch Gardens on April 10. Busch Gardens’ animal care experts stepped in when they saw that the mother was not attentive. There are only about 35 aardvarks in zoos in North America. With fewer than a dozen successful births each year, aardvark births are not common. They are solitary by nature, only Busch Gardens is home to a male and female, with the cub making three. He will be raised in Jambo Junction – located in the Nairobi area of the park – and will become one of the park’s educational Animal Ambassadors.
Long time ZooBorns readers and anyone whose read our books will know Amani the Aardvark, born in December of 2008. Today, Detroit Zoo announces the arrival of Amani's kid sister, Roxanne, born on January 8th. “Aardvarks are believed to be relatively plentiful in the wild, but not in zoos. Babies like Roxanne are special because they’re both uncommonly cute and just plain uncommon,” said Detroit Zoological Society Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter. “We’re excited to have our third baby Aardvark in two years and to help this small population in zoos grow.”
Photo credits: Detroit Zoological Society
Detroit Zoological Society veterinarians and zookeepers are monitoring Rachaael and Roxanne closely. Aardvarks are small, hairless and fragile at birth, and aardvark mothers are sometimes clumsy and can accidentally injure their little ones. Roxanne weighed less than 4 pounds at birth and has since more than quadrupled in size. Mature aardvarks can weigh from 90 to 145 pounds and grow 5 to 6 feet in length.
“Aardvarks are the real estate developers of their African grassland communities,” said Carter. “They dig tunnels and burrows with ease, which are used by other animals when the aardvarks move on.”