ABILENE, Texas — The Abilene Zoo announced the birth of twin giant anteater pups Thursday - a first of its kind birth for the zoo.
The twins were born to their two-and-a-half-year-old mother, Demo, the morning of March 28, 2022, according to the Zoo.
The twins, one boy and one girl, are Demo’s first born, the Zoo said in a release. Because it is rare for a giant anteater to give birth to twins and be able to adequately nourish two pups, zoo animal care specialists have kept close watch of mother and babies, weighing the pups daily.
According to the release, the female pup was not gaining weight and the decision was made to hand-raise her. While the male pup continues to be with his mother, the zoo’s veterinary and animal care teams are working towards the goal of reuniting the entire family, as soon as his sister gains weight and achieves critical milestones.
The zoo said there's no date set for the pups to be on display to the public., but Demo is at liberty to move around her exhibit, and she has already given a few zoo guests the chance to see her baby boy riding on her back.
Giant anteater pups stay close to their mothers for the first six weeks of life, riding on their mother's backs and hiding under their front legs for protection. After the first month, the pups will begin to spend more time on the ground, but will still ride on their mother’s back frequently. A giant anteater pup is usually weaned at approximately nine months, and leaves its mother when it is full grown, at just under two years of age.
The zoo said although the giant anteater is not an endangered species, the population is becoming increasingly hard to find in its native South America.
The birth of the giant anteater twins at the zoo will allow the team to share development data about the animals with researchers and educate the public about the unique species.