The Memphis Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a
Southern tamandua. The baby, whose sex is still unknown, was born February 12
to first-time parents “Mary Ann” and “Mr. Wendell.”
“We love tamanduas, and they are so interesting to watch,” said Dr.
Steve Reichling, curator of the Animals of the Night exhibit. “This little one
insures we’ll continue presenting these incredible animals to our visitors for
years to come.”
Mother and baby are doing well, and are currently on exhibit in the
Animals of the Night building. Gestation for a tamandua is between 130-150
days, after which a single offspring is born.
Southern tamanduas are a subspecies of anteaters, and are sometimes
called lesser anteaters. They eat an average of 9,000 ants a day, with a tongue
that can be up to 15 inches in length. A toothless species, tamanduas have a
gizzard; gizzards are special stomach muscles that help grind food.
They’re also known as “stinkers of the forest,” as tamanduas emit an
off-putting smell. In fact, their secretion is said to be four-times worse than
that of a skunk.
The Memphis Zoo has had tamanduas in our collection since February 1999.