Cleveland MetroParks Zoo sees first giant anteater birth

CLEVELAND - The Cleveland MetroParks Zoo welcomed the first giant anteater to be born at the zoo in its history last week - and it happened on Thanksgiving Day.

The anteater, whose gender is undetermined, was born to mom Pica and dad Kutter in the Rainforest. The zoo said that it appears to be healthy, and staff members are keeping their distance for now so that it can bond with its mother. It will cling to its mother's back for several weeks as it develops.

This is the first time the zoo has had two anteaters who successfully bred, though the species has been at the zoo since 1992. The species is considered vulnerable in the wild.

Fast Facts:

  • Anteaters are native to Central and South America.
  • They can eat tens of thousands of ants and termites in a single day with their long, sticky tongue.
  • Full-grown males can be up to 7 feet long and weigh more than 100 pounds.
  • The animal has no teeth but can flick its tongue up to 160 times a minute, which it uses to lap up ants from anthills.
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