In Animals & Plants
On December 5, 2014, a baby prehensile-tailed porcupine was born to first-time mom Cayenne and first-time dad Pacha. Animal care and veterinary staff were not comfortable with the level of care that the first-time parents were giving the youngster, so after much internal discussion as well as consultation from experts at the National Zoo, it was decided to remove the baby from the exhibit and hand-rear him. Little Mateo has been thriving under the watchful care of our Animal Services staff!
Native to South America, prehensile-tail porcupines have a gestation period of approximately 200 days. Young are born covered in a rust colored fur, quills that grow in later, and are precocial, meaning they are born with their eyes open and ready to climb!
“Everybody loves red pandas, and though it doesn’t seem possible, the babies are even cuter than the adults,” said Greg Bockheim, the Zoo’s executive director. “We hope they will inspire visitors to learn more about the challenges these amazing creatures face in the wild.”
The latest set of cubs, both female, were born June 19, 2014 to Bernadette and father Oscar and have been named Cinnamon and Ginger. The pair produced two male cubs, Charlie and Thomas, on June 20, 2013.
Red pandas are small tree-dwelling animals native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. Slightly larger than a domestic cat and with markings similar to a raccoon, red pandas have soft, dense reddish-brown and white fur that covers their entire body.
It’s a boy! A new baby siamang was discovered clinging to his mother’s stomach November 21, 2014 by zookeepers. Mother Hitam came to the Virginia Zoo from the San Diego Zoo, while father Bali came from Howletts Wild Animal Park in England. This is the second baby for Hitam and Bali. Big sister Lola was born in 2012 and can be seen with the rest of the family.
Siamangs are critically endangered and facing increasing pressure in the wild. They are native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia and are the largest species of gibbon. Siamangs have black shaggy hair and a naked face. They have large gray or pink throat pouch that can be inflated, allowing them to make loud resonating calls that can be heard more than two miles away. Siamangs are omnivorous, eating mostly leaves, but also fruit, insects, nuts, small animals, birds and bird’s eggs. Males and females are similar in size, growing to 30 to 35 inches in length and weighing approximately 17 to 28 pounds.
Siamangs bear one offspring after a 7 to 8 month gestation period. For the first few months, the baby clings to the mother’s abdomen. By age two, the baby is independent, but still very much a part of the family. At about seven years old they reach sexual maturity and leave their parents.
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