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Christmas Trees Become Zoo Animal Treats

Elephant with Christmas tree

Photo by Oakland Zoo.

Dozens of leftover Christmas trees were donated by a local tree lot to the Oakland Zoo after the holiday season wrapped up. And the Oakland Zoo keepers have put them to good use!

“The Christmas trees provide our zoo animals with a unique seasonal enrichment,” said Colleen Kinzley, Director of Animal Care at Oakland Zoo.

The trees became sticky snacks for the giraffes, zebras, camels, elephants, and goats. They provided hiding spots for goodies to entice baboons and otters. And they added a new dimension of fun to the squirrel monkeys’ exhibit.

Year in Review: Baby Animals of 2014

This year, we fell in love with many new fuzzy faces and cuddly cuties.  Here are a few of our favorite baby animals of 2014!


Best Peek-a-Boo:
Nashville Zoo had a bounty of little kangaroo joeys popping up left and right this fall.  Here’s one of them:

Kangaroo joey peeking out from pouch

Photo by Aimee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.


Cutest Yawn:
Three male lion cubs were born at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle on October 24. We love the middle guy’s yawn! Spending 16-20 hours of the day sleeping or resting, lions are the laziest of the big cats. In the wild, they can be found lying on their backs with their feet up or taking a snooze up in a tree.

Three lion cubs

Photo by Photo by Dr. Darin Collins / Woodland Park Zoo.


Bounciest Baby:
A baby klipspringer was born on March 30 at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. The term “klipspringer” is Afrikaans for “rock jumper”, and this little antelope sure does live up to her name!

Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.

Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.


Cutest Snout:
Busch Gardens welcomed a Southern tamandua (or lesser anteater) on April 13. In the wild, tamanduas inhabit Central and South America.

Southern tamandua

Photo by Busch Gardens.


Best Belly Rolls:
This little roly-poly hippo calf, born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia on September 11, is just irresistible. In the wild, hippos live in sub-Saharan Africa. The hippopotamus is the second heaviest land mammal in the world!

Baby hippo and mama

Photo by Anthony Dorian / Taronga Western Plains Zoo.


Rarest Birth:
Chimelong Safari Park, a zoo in southern China, announced the birth of giant panda triplets this summer. Panda triplets are incredibly rare, and usually, at least one of the cubs do not survive. Born on July 29, these three panda cubs have all survived and mother Juxiao is tending to each of them.

pandatriplets

Photo by Chimelong Safari Park.


Coziest Hug:
The Memphis Zoo welcomed a male baby bonobo on April 28 named Mpingo (EM-pingo), which is a type of African tree.  The wood from mpingo trees are used to make musical instruments, and so mpingos are sometimes referred to as “trees that make music”. According to Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs, “He certainly brings harmony and joy to the group.”

Baby bonobo and mother

Photo by Laura Horn. Courtesy of Memphis Zoo.


Cutest Hybrid:
Butterfly is a geep (goat-sheep hybrid) born at My Petting Zoo in Scottsdale, Arizona. Born in July, she has the features of a goat and the curly wool of a lamb!

Geep: goat-sheep hybrid

Photo by My Petting Zoo.

We hope you enjoyed our roundup of adorable animal babies of 2014! Happy New Year!

Baby Alpaca Arrives at Nashville Zoo

Baby alpaca

Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

On December 13, Nashville Zoo welcomed a baby alpaca into the world! The male calf, named Bandit, is the first baby alpaca to be born at the zoo.

“Based on the mother’s weight gain, we had predicted the baby would be born in spring, so his arrival on a December Saturday morning was quite a surprise,” said Kacie Cummings, Contact Area Supervisor. “We are thrilled that baby Bandit is healthy and on exhibit with the rest of our alpacas.”

The baby now weighs 14 pounds and stands at 2 feet tall. He will be on exhibit at Critter Encounters, an interactive area where guests can get up-close experiences with goats, camels, Galapagos tortoises, and birds, throughout the winter.

Baby alpaca

Photo by Amiee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Alpacas are domesticated animals native to the mountains of South America.

Learn more at the Nashville Zoo website.

Baby Aardvark at Nebraska Zoo

The Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium in Omaha, Nebraska welcomed a baby aardvark on October 1. The little calf, who currently weighs around 12 pounds, is now on public display!

Baby aardvark

Photo by Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium.

When the little guy or gal (the baby’s gender is still unknown at this time) reaches adulthood, he or she will weigh anywhere from 110-150 pounds.

In the wild, aardvarks live throughout Africa, south of the Sahara. They have long, sticky tongues that help them catch termites and ants. Their long, tubular snouts help them reach into termite mounds.

Kangaroo Joeys at Nashville Zoo

Kangaroo joey peeking out from pouch

Photo by Aimee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Kangaroo joeys are popping up left and right at Nashville Zoo! Up to six of the zoo’s nine female kangaroos are carrying joeys, and now many of the little ‘roos are old enough to peek out from their mothers’ pouches.

“We have been waiting with anticipation for a joey sighting since confirming the first pregnancy in April,” said Kacie Cummings, Contact Areas Supervisor. “Our joeys range in age from one month to six months, so getting the opportunity to see them at the different stages of development throughout the next year will be exciting for our guests.”

Kangaroo and joey

Photo by Aimee Stubbs / Nashville Zoo.

Learn more at the Nashville Zoo website.

Featured Animal: Indian Rhinoceros

Meet our featured animal: the Indian rhinoceros!

Indian rhino in the water

Here are five fun facts about Indian rhinos:

  • The single horn on the Indian rhinoceros distinguishes it from its African counterparts, who all have two horns. Consequently, the Indian rhinoceros is also referred to as the Great One-Horned Rhinoceros
  • Weighing up to 2200 kg (4800 lb.), Indian rhinos graze in flood plain areas in Northern India and Nepal.
  • Indian rhinos have lips that are specially adapted to grasp the grass they eat (also known as prehensile lips).
  • They are considered to be good swimmers and sometimes eat the aquatic plants they encounter.
  • Rhinoceroses have poor eye sight. However, they make up for it with their exceptional hearing and sense of smell.

Learn more at our Indian rhino facts page.