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Wednesday 16 April 2014

Rare giant anteater born in captivity

A baby giant anteater born at Chester Zoo Photo: PA

A RARE and endangered baby giant anteater has been born in captivity.

The tiny youngster, whose gender is not yet known, is only the second of the species to ever be born at Chester Zoo in Cheshire.

The baby will cling to its mother's back for approximately six months until it is ready to walk, explore and find food on its own.

Parents Pedro and Bliss, both aged three, arrived in 2010 as part of an international breeding programme.

David White, team manager at the zoo, said: "Bliss is a very good mum and is so far doing an excellent job of looking after her new arrival.

"She's obviously very proud of her newborn and has, every now and again, been parading around and showing off to our visitors.

"Seeing the youngster clinging on tightly to her tail is quite the sight."

Giant anteaters are classed as vulnerable to extinction by conservationists and so the birth is being welcomed as good news for the unusual looking species.

Native to Central and South America, the animals do not have teeth but have tongues which can measure up to half a metre long.

The giant anteater is the world's largest species of anteater and an individual may eat up to 30,000 ants in one day.

Giant anteaters are predominantly solitary, except for mothers and their offspring.

They are carried on their mother's back, aligned with the white stripe, so that they are very well camouflaged.

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