Baloo had us to looking for the ‘bear necessities’ in The Jungle Book, but a newborn anteater at ZSL London Zoo has taken this one step further after turning to a teddy bear for a cuddle after her mother rejected her.
Beanie, a one-month-old giant anteater is now in the care of the zoo keepers at ZSL, clutching to the shoulders of handler Amy Heath before bedding in for a nap on the teddy.
“Giant anteaters are an incredible species,” says Heath, “they’re unique to look at and their iconic snouts are perfectly designed to sniff out their food. While they’ve got no teeth, their claws are the perfect tools for digging an opening into ants’ nests and Beanie has been practising her digging skills on her teddy bear, or even sometimes my shoulder!”
Despite first-time mum Inca, one of three adult anteaters at ZSL, being unable to look after Beanie, the cuddly little critter is healthy and well.
“We’re very pleased with how well Beanie is developing – at 1.6kg she’s gained about half a kilo in a month, and is the ideal weight for her age. She’s a very strong youngster with a sweet personality; she loves to burrow her long snout into my neck for a cuddle!”
Beanie will continue to be hand-fed until she is six months old before being reintroduced to the rest of the group, and will eventually grow to more than two metres in length and weigh over 45kgs.