Bioparc Valencia in Spain is now home to five little Meerkat pups. Meerkats, endemic to the desert of southern Africa, are members of the mongoose family. They live in social colonies in underground burrows and tunnels that help to protect them against the day's scorching heat. Some members of the colony act as scouts that cry out to warn each other if a predator, like a hawk, is spotted. Meerkats will also babysit for each other as they are raising pups, protecting and sometimes even nursing each other's young.
Meerkats can reproduce year-round, and may have up to four litters per year in the wild. Pups leave the den to explore at about three weeks old, and start to learn how to forage for and eat small animals and plants by watching and mimicking adults. It takes careful observation and practice to master the art of catching (and eating) scorpions!
Two-month-old giraffe Ramses is out and about with the rest of the herd at Bioparc Valenica, Spain.
Born on November 30th, Ramses is the offspring of Zora and Julius. Zora's first calves were hand-reared by caretakers after the mother rejected her brood. But there's good news: Zora has bonded with her calf this time, and she nurses and devotes caring attention to Ramses.
Now on display, Ramses shares his exhibit home with other species of the African savanna, including Thomson's Gazelles, Blesbok, Impalas, Crowned Cranes, and Jabirus.
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:
Two fuzzy, bright-eyed ring-tailed lemurs were born on Saturday, May 14, 2011 at Bioparc Valencia in Spain. Within a few hours, early morning visitors to their habitat could see them clinging to their mother's belly. This is the third set of babies for their ten year old mom, who has been at Bioparc Valencia since 2007. Ring-tail lemur babies usually spend their first two weeks of life grasping their mother's abdomen before they switch to riding on her back.
Two Red River Hogs were born unexpectedly in early May at Bioparc Valencia in Spain. These colorful wild boars live in the African equatorial forest, typically near water. In recent years the population of this species has grown dramatically in accredited zoos, but the genetic pool is shrinking. International controls to prevent the spread of swine flu have made the transport of these hogs between foreign zoos for responsible breeding purposes more challenging. After a lot of red tape, the father of these tiny hoglets was finally sent to a German zoo where he could contribute genetic diversity, but not before clandestinely fathering these two little piggies.