Wildlife Blog

Baby Camel at Memphis Zoo

Baby dromedary camel

Photo courtesy of Memphis Zoo.

Despite being less than a week old, the baby dromedary camel at Memphis Zoo already weighs 68 pounds and measures 3 feet tall!  The male camel calf was born on Thursday, June 12 to parents Mona Lisa and Solomon.

Mama and baby are doing well in the Camel Excursion exhibit at the zoo. The newborn will spend the next 18 months nursing from his mother.

According to Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs, “Similar to giraffes, the most important things we look for are the calf’s ability to stand as well as nurse. He is already walking and has nursed several times.”

Dromedary camel baby and mother

Photo courtesy of Memphis Zoo.

Dromedary camels are one of two species of camels, with the other species being Bactrian. Dromedary (aka Arabian camels) have only one hump, while Bactrian camels have two.

Learn more at the Memphis Zoo website.

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VIDEO: Bonobos and Kindness

Much like humans, bonobos show kindness to strangers.  Through experiments and observation, researchers have seen bonobos demonstrate empathy and go out of their way to help others.

Watch a video below about bonobos, kindness, and their unfortunate predicament in the wild:

Source: National Geographic.

Learn more about bonobos in our bonobo facts article.

Honk! Honk! Trumpeter Swan Cygnets Arrive at Lincoln Park Zoo

Trumpeter swans

Four trumpeter swans were born this week at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Photo by Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo.

Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago welcomed four baby trumpeter swans (called cygnets) on June 2 and 3 to two sets of parents. The cygnets are already exploring the zoo’s McCormick Swan Pond with their parents.

The young swans will learn all the necessary survival skill at the zoo, including swimming and feeding independently on seeds, grains, wetland plants, insects, and small fish. Then, in the fall, the swans will be released into the wild in Iowa as part of a collaborative reintroduction program with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“It’s amazing to see how resilient this species truly is,” said Hope B. McCormick Curator of Birds, Sunny Nelson. “Twenty years ago these birds were nearly extinct and are beginning to make quite the comeback, due in part to reintroduction collaborations such as with the Iowa DNR.”

Trumpeter swan cygnets

Photo by Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo.

Trumpeter swans are the largest waterfowl in North America. They are easily identified by their black bills, white plumage, and 8-feet wingspans. Usually, trumpeter swans mate for life.

For more info, see the Lincoln Park Zoo website.

Oakland Zoo Welcomes Baby Baboon

Meet Mimi, a baby hamadryas baboon born at the Oakland Zoo on May 21st! The little baboon is settling in well, nursing with her mother, Maya.

Baby baboon and mother

Baby baboon, Mimi, with her mother Maya. Photo by Oakland Zoo.

Mimi has two older siblings, Kodee and Mocha, who are very curious about her.

“This new baby is great because not only do we have parent raised baboons, but the other two youngsters are able to witness and participate in infant care, which will only make them better mothers in the future,” said Margaret Rousser, Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo.

Hamadryas baboons live in groups called troops.  They eat vegetables, insects, and red meat. In the wild, they inhabit Ethiopia, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.

Learn more at the Oakland Zoo website.

Featured Animal: Meerkat

Meet our featured animal: the meerkat!

Meerkats

Here are five fun facts about meerkats:

  • Meerkats live in groups of 20-50 extended family members in large underground tunnels. These family groups are called gangs or mobs.
  • One of the most important roles a meerkat plays is that of the sentry, or watch guard. The sentry will stand on its hind legs, propped up by its tail, and act as a lookout while the rest of the mob is outside the burrow.
  • Meerkats are specially adapted to living in the harsh desert environment. Dark patches around their eyes help them be effective lookouts by reducing the glare of the sun, much like a baseball player who paints dark lines beneath his eyes.
  • Meerkats also possess special adaptations to help them burrow. Their eyes have a clear protective membrane that shields them from dirt while digging. Their ears also close tightly to keep dirt out.
  • A meerkat’s diet consists of mainly insects, supplemented by small rodents, fruit, birds, eggs, lizards, and even poisonous scorpions.

Learn more at our meerkat facts page!

Tubby Baby Porcupine at Woodland Park Zoo

Baby porcupine at Woodland Park Zoo.

Woodland Park Zoo’s baby porcupine, Marty. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo is home to Marty, an 8 week old baby porcupine (or porcupette). The roly-poly porcupine was born on April 4 to parents Molly and Oliver.

She was captured on camera enjoying a treat of leaves, twigs, and bark in her exhibit in the Northern Trail. Watch the video below:

Learn more about Marty at the Woodland Park Zoo website.

Photo and video by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

Memphis Zoo Announces Baby Giraffe

Baby giraffe

Baby giraffe, Tamu Massif, arrived on May 16 at the Memphis Zoo. Photo by Caitlin Miller. Courtesy of Memphis Zoo.

Excitement continues at the Memphis Zoo with the birth of a baby reticulated giraffe on May 16.  The male giraffe calf, named Tamu Massif (tam-MOO mah-SEEF), weighs 150 pounds.  He is the fifth calf for mother Marilyn.

“Tamu is doing incredibly well,” says Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs. “He’s happy and healthy. Marilyn is a great, experienced mother, so she’s taking this all in stride.”

The giraffe’s name means “sweet giant”. It is also the name of a dormant, underwater volcano in the Pacific Ocean.

Baby giraffe

Tamu explores his surroundings as other members of the herd look on. Photo by Caitlin Miller. Courtesy of Memphis Zoo.

To learn more about the baby giraffe, visit the Memphis Zoo’s website. You can learn more about giraffes at Animal Fact Guide’s giraffe facts page.

Baby Bonobo at the Memphis Zoo

Baby bonobo and mother

Mpingo’s mother Lily holds him close at the Memphis Zoo’s bonobo exhibit. Photo by Laura Horn. Courtesy of Memphis Zoo.

The Memphis Zoo welcomed a male baby bonobo on April 28.  The newborn’s name is 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, “This is a very significant birth. He definitely lives up to his name. He certainly brings harmony and joy to the group.”

Mpingo and his mother Lily are doing well. They are both on exhibit with other members of the bonobo troop.  Other females in the group will help raise Mpingo, just like what occurs in the wild.

To learn more about Mpingo, visit the Memphis Zoo website. To learn more about bonobos, who are endangered, visit Animal Fact Guide’s bonobo facts page.

Why Octopus Arms Don’t Get Tangled Up

Octopus

Unlike humans, octopuses are not constantly aware of the location of their arms.  So with eight limbs in motion, it’s a wonder how their arms don’t get tangled up together.

According to researcher Guy Levy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “We thought about it and we said, ‘How is it possible that the arms don’t grab each other?’”

Levy and his colleague Nir Nesher conducted a series of experiments with octopus arms. They observed that the suckers on the octopus arm would grab objects within its reach, but it would not grab anything with octopus skin. Their studies suggested that octopus skin has a repellent chemical. The sucker on an octopus arm can “taste” this repellent, so it does not grab on to it.

According to Roger Hanlon, of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, “In fact, many of the sensory neurons known to occur in cephalopod suckers have unknown functions. The authors have widened our view of octopus sensory perception and provided some stimulating research questions to pursue.”

For more on this study, including a podcast, visit the NPR website.

To learn more fun facts about octopuses, see Animal Fact Guide’s common octopus facts page.

Busch Gardens Announces Baby Anteater

Southern tamandua baby at Busch Gardens.

This little Southern tamandua (lesser anteater) pup will ride on his mother’s back for the next several months at Busch Gardens. Photo by Busch Gardens.

Busch Gardens welcomed a Southern tamandua on April 13.  Tamanduas are also known as lesser anteaters.  The baby tamandua, or pup, will spend the next several months riding on its mother’s back. Both mother and pup are currently under the watch of the Busch Gardens’ animal care team behind the scenes.

In the wild, tamanduas live in Central and South America.

Learn more at the Busch Gardens website.

Southern tamandua

Photo by Busch Gardens.

Southern tamandua

Photo by Busch Gardens.

Southern tamandua

Photo by Busch Gardens.