Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A Cold Baby

The giant anteater at the National Zoo recently ran into trouble after giving birth to her baby. This is a fascinating look at a creature I didn't know much about. Nicely written with a real sense of drama.

http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/Amazonia/Anteater/January2011.cfm

On the evening of December 7, we could see on the internal web cam that Maripi seemed at long last to be in labor. At about 7:30 she gave birth to her pup, and within half an hour the baby had climbed up on its mother’s back, and all seemed to be proceeding normally. Maripi is an experienced mom, so when she curled up in her crate with the pup a little while later and stayed there, we all felt that she had the situation in hand. As with most animals giant anteaters prefer to give birth in solitude since that equals safety in the wild. Unless we saw that Maripi was in distress or wasn’t caring for the baby, our plan was to leave the two of them alone. We called it a night at 10 p.m. and looked forward to meeting our newest anteater in the morning.

The next day the keepers arrived at 6:30 a.m. and immediately looked at the web cam to check on the anteaters. We could see Maripi still sleeping in her crate, but the baby was outside the crate on the floor and did not appear to be moving...

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