HEADLINES

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

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – 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. 

About Giant Anteaters

Giant anteaters can live up to 26 years in human care and are usually solitary animals. They weigh up to 100 pounds and are five to seven feet long. Their home range is from southern Belize to northern Argentina, and they live in grasslands, humid forests, and woodland areas. Anteaters have one of the lowest body temperatures in the animal kingdom at 91 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit and can eat up to 30,000 ants per meal in the wild. The Latin name for anteater is Vermillingua, meaning "worm tongue," which can be as long as two feet.  

About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Let your curiosity run wild! Connecticut’s only zoo, celebrating its 100thth year, features 350 animals representing primarily North and South American and Northern Asian species. Guests won’t want to miss our Amur tigers and leopards, maned wolves, and Mexican gray wolves and red wolves. Other highlights include our Spider Monkey Habitat, the prairie dog exhibit, and the Pampas Plain with Giant anteaters and Chacoan peccaries. Guests can grab a bite from the Peacock Café and eat in the Picnic Grove. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is a non-profit organization celebrating its Centennial year when the mission of helping fragile wildlife populations and eco-systems is more important than ever. 

Tickets must be purchased on the Zoo’s website at beardsleyzoo.org: we recommend that guests continue to wear masks while visiting the Zoo, but when guests are outside and are able to maintain social distance, masks may be removed. In any indoor area, or when social distancing cannot be maintained, masks are required. Everyone over the age of two, except for those with medical conditions that preclude wearing them, should have a mask available. 

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