Keepers at ZSL London Zoo are celebrating the birth of an adorable baby tamandua.
The new arrival, born on July 30th, can be seen by visitors hitching a ride as mum Ria takes the 25cm long youngster for a walk around their South American-inspired Rainforest Life home.
Tamanduas spend the first three months of their lives clinging to their mothers’ backs, sliding down to feed before pulling themselves back up to nestle into their mother’s fur. Perfectly camouflaged, their matching patterns merge to form a single continuous stripe, which allows young pups to avoid predators’ eyes in the wild.
Zookeeper Marcel McKinley said: “We’ve all been waiting excitedly for the baby’s arrival, so when Ria vanished into her nest box the evening before, we had our fingers crossed that the time had come – we came in early the next morning and were delighted to see a tiny baby wriggling on Ria’s back.”
Marcel added: “We won’t know if the baby is a boy or girl until its first health check in a few months’ time, but in the meantime, we’ve decided to nickname the newborn Bueno, which means ‘good’ in Spanish – as the little one is doing such a great job holding on tight to mum.”
Closely related to giant anteaters, tamanduas are nocturnal mammals and hail from South America. They’re impressive climbers who use their forelimbs and claws to dig up insect nests, before using their elongated snouts and 40cm long tongues to suck up their favourite food, ants and termites.
Visitors to the Zoo will be able to see Bueno in London’s only living rainforest, which the tamanduas share with two-toed sloths Marilyn and Leander, golden-headed tamarins, red titi monkeys and fruit bats.
For information on visiting and booking tickets go to www.zsl.org