This Week’s Creature Feature
He doesn’t have a name yet, but the National Zoo’s baby giant anteater already has a photo blog and a ghostwriter. Keeper Marie Magnuson has been posting status updates and photos of the long-nosed baby boy since his birth in December.
Magnuson had close contact with the baby in the early days, because mother Maripi wasn’t producing enough milk to keep the little guy gaining weight.
How do you surrogate nurse an anteater?
It’s pretty complicated considering the creature’s long cylindrical mouth and snout. Often, the baby’s long tongue would get in the way of the bottle’s nipple, keeping nourishment from flowing. The solution? Pricking “a ton of holes” into the bottle nipple to create a sieve-like feeder for the baby.
Not a practical solution for Maripi. But she won’t need the extreme makeover now that her pup is weighing in at over five pounds, a healthy weight for a growing anteater.