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CT's Beardsley Zoo Announces Naming Contest for Baby Giant Anteater

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo has announced an opportunity for the public to choose a name for the female baby Giant anteater born on June 15, 2021. In December, the Zoo received verification from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Anteater Advisory Group that the Giant anteater pup is a girl. Voters can go to the Zoo’s website at www.beardsleyzoo.org and choose from three names selected by the anteaters’ animal care staff. Voting begins on Thursday, January 13 and ends at noon on Friday, January 21.

The proposed names are: 

  •   Andarilho: Portuguese for “wanderer”
  •   Corajosa: Portuguese for brave, bold, valiant
  •   Chili: A small hot-tasting pod of a variety of capsicum, used in sauces and relishes.

Giant anteaters, unlike most mammalian species, are not easy to sex from their body size, color, and external genitalia. That the baby’s gender is female is welcome news for the species, as the population in Giant anteaters is skewed more heavily toward males than females.  

“We couldn’t be happier that our Giant anteater baby is a girl, important for the continuation of this vulnerable species,” explained Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “Now we’re asking the public to help choose her name. Voting is free on our website at beardsleyzoo.org.”

The baby, born after a 75-day gestation period, is increasingly independent. She occasionally rides on her mother’s back, but she spends more time on her own as she grows. In addition to nursing, she now is fed a mixture of grain and water in a smoothie, the same formulation given to her parents. At nine days old, the baby weighed 4.3 pounds. On December 21, she weighed 45 pounds. 

This is the third Giant anteater baby born at the Zoo to third time dad, E.O., and fourth time mom, Pana. The pair was brought to Connecticut’s only Zoo with the hopes of successful breeding, which occurred for the first time in 2016.

Mochilla, the pair’s first offspring, is now in residence at Alexandria Zoo in Louisiana. The second-born, Tupi, is now at the Nashville Zoo in Tennessee. 

The Giant anteater parents came to the Zoo from Palm Beach Zoo in Palm Beach, Florida. Both Pana and EO are twelve years old. They arrived in late May 2015 and are a highlight of the Pampas Plains habitat, which opened in August 2015. 

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