Double Cuteness: Two Baby Sloths at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Baby sloths

Meet the newest baby sloths at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Daisy’s baby (left) and Grizzly’s baby (right). Photo by Busch Gardens.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay recently welcomed two baby sloths!

A Hoffman’s two-toed sloth was born on March 24 to mother Grizzly and father Teddy. The little one only weighed 186 grams (6.6 ounces) at birth and wasn’t nursing regularly. So the animal care team at Busch Gardens decided to hand-nurse the baby via syringe every two hours. Currently, the baby is healthy and under 24-hour watch.

Baby sloth being hand-fed.

The animal care team feeds Grizzly’s baby by syringe. Photo by Busch Gardens.

A Linne’s two-toed sloth was born on April 2 to mother Daisy and father Mario. Weighing 550 grams (19.4 ounces) at birth, the baby is currently healthy and being cared for by its mother. The animal care team is monitoring closely.

Linne's sloth baby

The animal care team checks Daisy’s baby, who is still under her daily care.

Watch a video below of the two baby sloths:

One interesting fact about two-toed sloths is that they actually have three toes. (All sloths have three toes per foot.) But two-toed sloths have only two claws per foot. For more interesting sloth facts, see our article about the brown-throated three-toed sloth.

The Great Octopus Escape: Inky Breaks out of New Zealand Aquarium

Inky the octopus

Inky the octopus at National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier. Photo by National Aquarium of New Zealand.

Inky, an octopus at the National Aquarium of New Zealand, made a spectacular nighttime escape. The contortionist octopus squeezed through a tiny gap at the top of his enclosure, then scuttled 8 feet across the floor to a drain pipe. After sliding 164 feet down the pipe, he dropped down to freedom (or specifically, Hawke’s Bay which opens out into the Pacific Ocean).

According to the aquarium’s manager, Rob Yarrall, “He managed to make his way to one of the drain holes that go back to the ocean, and off he went. Didn’t even leave us a message.”

Blotchy the octopus (Inky’s aquarium mate) decided against adventure and remained at the aquarium.

For more about Inky, see the New York Times.

For more great escapes, see our archive of animal escapes.

Learn more amazing facts about octopuses at our Common Octopus article.

 

Chilean Flamingo Chicks Thrive at Chicago Zoo

Chilean Flamingo chickThe animal care staff at Lincoln Park Zoo successfully hand-reared 5 Chilean flamingo chicks that had hatched between September 11-28, 2015.

Now on view at the zoo’s Waterfowl Lagoon, the grey and fuzzy chicks weigh around 2-3 kg, roughly 30 times their weight since hatch.

“These chicks are a true testament to the dedicated animal care staff here at Lincoln Park Zoo,” said Hope B. McCormick Curator of Birds. “We’re excited to share the chicks with our visitors and to learn from these chicks to further our knowledge of the species.”

When the flamingos hatched, animal care staff collected shell fragments for DNA testing. This is a non-invasive way to determine the sex of the birds. The tests revealed that two of the chicks are male and three are female.

In the wild, Chilean flamingos live in large flocks in Peru, Brazil and Argentina. Like all flamingos, the Chilean species has pink plumage – or feathers – but are born with white-grey plumage and show the full iconic coloration at around 2-years-old. Chilean flamingos have the ability to tolerate extreme conditions, which makes them well suited for Chicago’s harsh winters.

Learn more at the Lincoln Park Zoo website.

Oakland Zoo Welcomes a Baby Baboon

Baby Akila, a Hamadryas baboon, was born on November 15 to parents Martijn and Maya at Oakland Zoo. “Akila” is a Swahili word meaning “intelligent.” Little Akila spends most of her time nursing and clinging to her mother’s back. She has four rambunctious older siblings.

Baby baboon and parents

Baby Akila, a Hamadryas baboon, was born on November 15 to parents Martijn and Maya.

The zoo also acquired two new male baboons from Prospect Park Zoo. The two 2-year-old newcomers, Milo and Kusa, are fitting in well with the troop at Oakland Zoo.

“The introductions are going wonderfully,” said Margaret Rousser, Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo. “We didn’t expect it to go so quickly or smoothly, but we were pleasantly surprised. The great thing about baboons is that they are very family oriented and since the new boys are not sexually mature yet, Martijn has accepted them pretty easily.”

Learn more at the Oakland Zoo website.

Giant Panda Cub Bei Bei to Debut in January

Meet Bei Bei, the newest fuzzy face at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.  Bei Bei (“bay-bay”), a giant panda cub, was born in August to mother Mei Xiang. His name means “precious treasure.” Currently at four months, he weighs 17.5 pounds.

Bei Bei will be on public display, along with his mother and big sister Bao Bao, on January 16.

To learn more about Bei Bei, see the National Zoo website. You can also watch him on their live streaming panda cam.

Learn more about pandas at our giant panda facts article.

VIDEO: Southern White Rhino Calf at Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa welcomed a female southern white rhinoceros calf on October 16. The calf is healthy and is currently being cared for by experienced mother Kisiri with the Busch Gardens animal care team watching closely.

Southern white rhino calf

Photo by Busch Gardens.

Newborn white rhinoceroses usually weigh about 150 pounds and can gain four pounds every day for the first year. White rhinos are the second largest land mammal after the elephant and can weigh as much as 5,000 pounds when fully grown.

The southern white rhinoceros is classified as a near-threatened species with just over 20,000 left in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

Learn more about the baby southern white rhino at the Busch Gardens Tampa blog.

Australia’s First Greater One-Horned Rhino Calf Born

greater one-horned rhino baby and mama

Proud mama Amala watches over her new baby boy. Photo by Bobby-Jo Clow / Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

For the first time ever, an Australian zoo welcomed a baby greater one-horned rhinoceros to the world on October 25. Taronga Western Plains Zoo keepers are closely monitoring their new arrival, a male calf born to first-time mother Amala.

“Amala is being very protective of him,” said Unit Supervisor Jennifer Conaghan. “She is keeping her distance from us and keeping the calf close, which is what we expected to see. We have seen the calf suckling and although it is still only days old, we are extremely happy with the situation so far, and absolutely thrilled to have this new addition on the ground.”

Baby greater one-horned rhino

Greater one-horned rhinoceros calf at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Photo by Bobby-Jo Clow / Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

According to Taronga Western Plains Zoo Director Matthew Fuller, “We’re the only zoo in Australia to have three species of rhino, and three successful rhino breeding programs, so critical for these species that are all threatened in the wild.”

Learn more about the little rhino calf at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo website.

You can find out more rhino facts at our greater one-horned rhino page.

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:

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.