Zookeepers at ZSL London Zoo have unlisted a giant fluffy teddy bear to take on the very important role of surrogate mother for one of their newest arrivals – a tiny baby anteater called Beanie.
Unfortunately shortly after Beanie was born it became clear that the anteater’s biological mother was unable to take care of her new little bundle of joy, and zookeepers were forced to step in.
Now, zookeepers are playing a very important role by raising Beanie until she is big enough to go back into the main enclosure with her parents.
Zookeeper Amy Heath explains, ‘ZSL London Zoo is home to a group of giant anteaters, male Bonito and his female mates, Inca and Sauna.’
‘We were delighted when we discovered Inca was pregnant; but unfortunately she rejected the infant so we’ve stepped in to help until the baby is big enough to go back in with her parents.’
Because Beanie is so small, this tiny anteater requires around the clock care and attention. She is currently being bottle fed special replacement milk once every 2-3 hours in order to ensure she has enough nutrients to grow big and strong.
But although they’re doing a brilliant job – the zookeepers aren’t quite fluffy enough to give Beanie all the comfort she needs. That’s why she’s been given a brand new teddy to snuggle up to, and when she’s not cuddling her new toy Beanie is staying warm in a temperature-controlled incubator.
She might be tiny now, weighing just a miniscule 1.2kg but one day Beanie will grow be around 7ft long and a whopping 45kg in weight.
But until then, Beanie will continue to be hand fed for the next 6 months before finally being reunited with her anteater family. We just hope that her beloved teddy can come too!