TACOMA, Wash. — Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma welcomed a Southern tamandua pup at 5:45 p.m. on Sunday August 18, the first one to be born in the zoo’s history.

The Southern tamandua is a species of anteaters native to South America that lives in trees. They are excellent climbers that have long, slender noses and a tongue that measures 18 inches.

The zoo couldn’t host a gender reveal party for the pup as its gender can only be determined once it gets bigger.

The healthy pup, weighing in at just over half a pound, is about the size of an avocado and can fit into a human hand.

Tamandua Pup 2
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Keepers monitored the pup for several hours after the birth to make sure it is nursing and bonding with mom, Terra. The father, Gonzo, will stay separate from the pair for the first two months.

Tamandua pups nurse for the first two months and begin to explore adult foods like insects and fruits after. It will stay close to its mom for the first six months and make its debut to the public once it is strong and confident enough.

Tamandua Pup 3
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

The little one is already quite strong, clinging to its mother's back just like one would in the wild as the mother hunts for food.

“Its job right now is just to hold on,” said Natalie Davis, curator of land animals.

Wild Wonders staff are keeping the nesting box pup-friendly and Terra is getting her favorite food, avocados.

The Species Survival Program® by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums – a new program where Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is a leader – recommended the addition of the tamandua pup. Tamanduas are not endangered, but they can help the public learn and appreciate all wildlife and habitats.

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