How do you hand-rear a baby giant anteater?

Find out why an oversized teddy bear is helping zookeepers to care for a one-month-old giant anteater after it was rejected by its mother.

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A cuddly companion is provding comfort for a young anteater at Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) London Zoo. 

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The baby, named Beanie by her keepers, was born on 28 December Zoo to her mother, Inca.

Sadly Inca rejected Beanie and zookeepers had to step in to hand-rear the youngster until she is big enough to be returned to her parents.  

Giant anteater pups spend much of their time clinging to their mother’s backs so Beanie has been keeping a firm grip on zookeeper Amy Heath’s shoulder – except for when she is sleeping on a teddy bear to give Heath a break.

“Hand-rearing an animal is an amazing privilege, but it’s hard work too,” said Heath. 

“We’ve been bottle-feeding Beanie every two to three hours with special replacement milk and making sure she’s kept warm at night with a temperature-controlled incubator.”

Super cute: Beanie clings to her furry friend. © ZSL London Zoo

The giant anteater is also known as the ant bear, and is the largest of the four anteater species.

It has been classed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as it is threatened by habitat destruction and poaching. 

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