By Lauren Kraft, Media Relations Coordinator
The Sacramento Zoo confirms pregnancy of its female Giant anteater, Amber. The ultrasound was performed in the Zoo’s Dr. Murray E. Fowler Veterinary Hospital this morning. The anteater also received a full exam and is in good health. Her due date is estimated to be early April. This will be the first Giant anteater baby born at the Sacramento Zoo.
The Sacramento Zoo started exhibiting anteaters in 2004. Amber arrived in March 2009. Zoo keepers observed breeding behavior in May and again in September and October and a full exam and ultrasound was then scheduled.
After a gestation period of 180 days, the mother gives birth standing up to a single offspring (two is rare). In the wild, Giant anteaters are solitary and the male is not involved in caring for the baby. That leaves the mother to do the heavy lifting, literally. Once the newborn lets out the first high-pitched screech, baby anteaters climb on their mother’s back and many will ride there for up to a year. A mature anteater can weigh as much as 140 pounds and stretch as much as seven feet from snout to tail tip.