A guest named Tamandua: anteaters settled in the Moscow Zoo

September 25

It is the first time in the history of the Moscow Zoo that anteaters have settled there. Now the zoo's exposition presents Tamandua, or four-toed anteaters, as they are also called. The species is included the International Red List of Threatened Species. Although the size of the wild population does not cause concern for scientists so far, the number of these animals in nature is steadily decreasing from year to year.

The zoo now hosts two animals of the species. First in arriving was the male Pancho; he moved to Moscow from the Krefeld Zoo (Germany). Later, the female Lola jointed him from the Antwerp Zoo (Belgium). Both anteaters endured the road well and immediately made friends with the specialists looking after them.

“Visitors can already watch Pancho in the House of Primates pavilion located on the new territory. When choosing a home for him, we took into account the specifics of the anteaters’ lifestyle in their natural habitat. Since these animals are ready to coexist with representatives of other species only, we put the Tamandua in the same enclosure with the squirrel monkeys. These are mobile and vigorous creatures, and it is easy for them to get along with a calm and good-natured anteater. At first, the neighbors were wary of the new tenant, but soon they saw that Pancho was not interested in them and was just looking for ants. Lola is still quarantined in a separate room. Soon, we will determine her place in the House of Primates,” says Svetlana Akulova, General Director of the Moscow Zoo.

The diet of the new inhabitants of the metropolitan zoo includes insects. Tamandua also enjoy eating bananas.

The family of anteaters includes three genera, among which are giant anteaters, tamandua and pygmy anteaters. In nature, all of them can be found in Central and South America. Four-toed anteaters live from the south of Colombia and Venezuela to the north of Argentina. The wild Tamandua population is steadily declining due to deforestation and poaching.

They inhabit moist tropical forests, as well as open savannas near streams and rivers. They make their homes in empty burrows, or they can dig themselves a hole in the ground. Four-toed and pygmy anteaters often inhabit tree hollows. Because of their long claws, representatives of these two species walk slowly and clumsily on the ground; thus, they prefer to climb trees, balancing with their tail.

Compared with their congeners, giant anteaters,who are up to one and a half meters and weighting 40 kilograms, the Tamandua have much more modest appearance. Their body length ranges from 54 to 88 centimeters, and weight is from four to five kilograms. They have only four fingers on their front paws, hence the other name of the species - four-toed anteaters.

Their paws are very powerful, so they easily open termite mounds and anthills. The hind legs of the Tamadua have the regular number of five fingers.

Anteaters have truly an extraordinary appearance. It is not a coincidence that the eccentric Spanish artist and master of provocation Salvador Dali took an anteater from the Paris Zoo under his care and often posed with it in front of cameras. The main distinguishing feature of these animals is their prominently elongated muzzle. A sticky tongue with which they catch ants can reach up to 60 centimeters long. The Tamandua’s fur is short, hard and thick. It is white or brown, with pronounced dark stripes along the back, adorning the shoulders like a vest. The animals have a prehensile tail with a hairless tip.

Anteaters have no teeth, so they swallow food whole without chewing. Animals consume a huge number of insects per day: for example, a giant anteater eats up to 30 thousand ants, a four-toed anteater - about nine thousand insects.

Anteaters of all species are most active at dusk, but can stay awake around the clock. Anteaters are solitary creatures that form a family union only during the mating period. At the same time, the male helps the female to take care of the offspring: he carries the cub on his back and participates in its upbringing. The life expectancy of the Tamadua is about nine years.

In August, fish owl chicks also arrived at the Moscow Zoo. They were brought from the island of Kunashir. These birds are on the verge of extinction and are listed in the International Red Book as an endangered breed. The fish owls were placed in the Center for reproduction of rare animal species near Volokolamsk. Zoologists expect the new inhabitants to bring offspring.

Source: mos.ru

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