Giant anteaters with spring fever

It happens in the wild, and also in zoos: many animals are struck by spring fever. This is also true at Zoo Parc Overloon (Netherlands), where the first loving mating of the giant anteaters has taken place.
The giant anteaters’ names are Tousle and Pjuskebusk. These unique names refer, in English and Danish respectively, to the same thing: ‘ruffling up’. According to the keepers, a better name this season would be ‘snuggling up’. Last year, the animals were put in the same enclosure but didn’t know what was expected of them. Now (at the end of February), the first actual mating has been observed.

Anteaters are solitary animals: they prefer to live alone. Although males are always interested, females allow them near only during oestrus, every 21 to 26 days. In Zoo Parc Overloon, the males and females are kept apart until they begin to lose interest in food and start to sniff at each other. On the day of this first mating, the animals mated five additional times. The keepers will be keeping an eye on the female Tousle’s cycle, as it is not yet known if the first day of mating was successful. The gestation period of the giant anteater is 180 days.

The giant anteaters are registered in the breeding programme of European zoos. A birth at Zoo Parc Overloon would be a nice contribution.