A six banded armadillo baby is being given round-the-clock care at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall after keepers made the decision to hand rear him.
Offering the best chance of survival for the new baby, bottle feeds are being provided by the keeping team throughout the night with the three week old armadillo currently being fed a special kitten milk replacement.
Although the new arrival’s eyes are firmly shut at the moment, they should begin to open at around 25 days. At a month old, the youngster will begin to eat more solid food and his weight will quadruple, which is when he will begin to start fending for himself.
Newquay Zoo is one of only 10 zoos in the UK to keep armadillos and the new arrival is the first to be born in the UK this year. Parents Wallace (Dad) and Gromit (Mum) arrived at Newquay Zoo in March 2017.
The word armadillo means “little armoured one” in Spanish and refers to the tough plated outer shell made of bone that gives protection from predators. Found throughout the Americas, fossils have been uncovered dating back to the Ice Age. The six-banded armadillo is the third-largest of the species and can be found mainly in Brazil.
Armadillos have poor eye-sight but a great sense of smell and are efficient burrowers. Although there is a large population of armadillos in the wild, they are often hunted for meat and for their armoured shell.
The new armadillo baby will be on show to the public alongside mum and dad in the coming weeks. For more information on visiting Newquay Zoo go to www.newquayzoo.org.uk or call 01637 873342.