Ring-tailed Lemur Baby at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Ring-tailed lemur and baby

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of a ring-tailed lemur. Photo by Sasha Brook, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

A baby ring-tailed lemur was born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, in Dubbo, Australia, on August 25. The little baby, named Imerina, spent her first few weeks clinging tightly to her mother but is now starting to explore independently.

“It’s wonderful to have a successful breeding season and a healthy baby on the ground,”  Keeper Sasha Brook said. “Imerina is a strong baby and first time mother Rikitra is doing all the right things, nursing and grooming her baby well, which is great to see.”

Ring-tailed lemur baby at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Imerina peers out from the safety of her mother’s chest. Photo by Sasha Brook, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

To learn more about ring-tailed lemurs, see our lemur article.

Baby Aardvark at Busch Gardens

Baby aardvark

Photo by Busch Gardens, Tampa.

Busch Gardens welcomed an odd, yet adorable, newborn earlier this fall. A little baby aardvark was born to mother Izzy on September 18.

With hairless, wrinkly skin and large floppy ears, some call the little baby “ugly-cute.” After a few weeks, the folds of skin will disappear and the ears will stand up straight.

Watch a video of the little aardvark here:

VIDEO: White Lion Cubs at Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo is pleased to announce that Makali, a four-year-old white lioness, gave birth to four cubs on September 26-27.

The little lion cubs are healthy, feeding well, and staying in the maternity area of the lion habitat at the zoo. The first thirty days will be critical for the cubs and zoo staff will continue to monitor them closely.

Learn more about lions at our lion facts article.

Did You Eat Your Dirt Today?

Giraffe spitting dust

A giraffe spits dust after eating dirt. Photo by Marie-France Grenouillet.

Wildlife photographer Marie-France Grenouillet captured this spectacular photo of a giraffe spitting dust out after eating soil in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania.

The act of eating soil, clay and dirt, called geophagy, is extremely common in mammals, especially in herbivores. Giraffes eat soil in order to take in minerals such as salt, copper, iron and zinc.  The clay also acts as a medicine by binding fungal toxins, internal toxins, toxic chemicals, and bacteria.

View more fantastic wildlife photos at her website.

You can learn more about giraffes at our giraffe facts article.

Wow! Photo of Mountain Lion Atop Utility Pole

Cougar on telephone pole

Photo by Peter Day, Victorville Press.

Peter Day, photographer for the Victorville Press, captured this amazing scene in California’s Lucerne Valley on September 29.

Jose Ruiz, who lives across from the 35-foot utility pole, said he thought the mountain lion got spooked by a noisy group of kids getting off the school bus. The big cat stayed perched atop the pole into the night.

To learn more about mountain lions (also known as cougars, pumas, or panthers), visit our mountain lion facts article.

Scientists Finally Discover What Sound the Giraffe Makes

GiraffeCow goes moo. Frog goes croak. Giraffe goes…. hmm?

Zookeepers have always assumed giraffes were fairly silent creatures, with the occasional snort thrown in. The assumption was that their long necks restricted their ability to make sounds, and also that being noisy would attract predators.

But researchers from the University of Vienna challenged this assumption. After recording and studying 938 hours of giraffe sounds over an eight year period, the scientists have discovered that in fact giraffes do make sounds. They make low-pitched humming sounds at night.

Listen here:

Learn more about giraffe sounds and the new research at Wired.com.

Discover more giraffe facts at our giraffe article.

Baby Panda at National Zoo Growing Steadily

Baby giant panda

Zookeepers at Smithsonian’s National Zoo weigh the baby giant panda on September 14.  (Erika Bauer/Smithsonian’s National Zoo via AP)

The tiny baby panda born at the National Zoo on August 22 is starting to look like his dad Tian Tian. At four weeks old, the baby now weighs two pounds and has developed markings in a similar pattern to those of his father.

The little tyke still sleeps most of the day, which is normal for a panda of this age. In the next few weeks, he will start to open his eyes.

Watch a video of the baby’s veterinary exam here:

You can follow the progress of the baby giant panda at the National Zoo’s website or with the hashtag #PandaStory on social media.

Learn more about pandas at our giant panda facts page.

Featured Animal: California Condor

Meet our featured animal: the California condor!

condor4

Here are five fun facts about California condors:

  • With a wingspan reaching 3 meters (10 ft.) long, the California condor is the largest flying bird in North America.
  • California condors can soar as fast as 88 km/h (55mph) and as high as 4,600 m (15,000 ft.).
  • They eat dead animals like cattle, deer, and sheep as well as smaller mammals like rodents and rabbits.
  • They can eat over 1 kg (2-3 lbs.) of food at a time, and then go for days without eating anything.
  • Because they have a robust immune system, condors do not get sick when feasting on carrion (dead animal flesh) despite consuming various strains of bacteria.

Learn more about condors at our California condor facts page.

VIDEO: Pink Dolphin in Louisiana

A rare pink bottlenose dolphin was recently captured on video by charter boat captain Erik Rue. Pinky was first spotted by Rue in 2007. To everyone’s delight, Pinky made another appearance eight years later, and she might be pregnant!

Pinky the dolphin

Image by Erik Rue.

According to scientist Greg Barsh, Pinky is most likely an albino. The pink hue comes from the blood vessels showing through her pale skin, which has no color. Albinism happens when there is a genetic mutation. The cells that make melanin, which produces the color in hair and skin, fail to make enough pigment, if any at all. People who have albinism have very pale skin, eyes, and hair.

Albinos can suffer from skin and vision issues as a result of their lack of melanin. Animals with albinism may be easily spotted by predators because they lack the appropriate camouflage. Therefore, albino animals, such as Pinky, are very rare in the wild.

Learn more about Pinky at National Geographic.

Discover more interesting facts about dolphins at our bottlenose dolphin facts page.