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Front Page - Friday, February 22, 2019

Zoo welcomes giant anteater

The Chattanooga Zoo is home to a new resident with a 2-foot tongue and a diet of 30,000 ants and termites a day.

The 2-year-old giant anteater, Betsy, is making herself at home in a new exhibit featuring an indoor holding and keeper area, a spacious outdoor habitat, and multiple public viewing areas for visitors to observe the gentle giant.

Betsy comes to the zoo from the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan. The SSP is a population management program overseeing certain species within AZA-accredited facilities to enhance the preservation of those species in the wild.

Through the SSP, the zoo hopes to have a recommended breeding male placed with Betsy in the near future.

Giant anteaters are insectivorous mammals. They can grow up to 7 feet from the tip of their snout to the end of their tail and can weigh up to 140 pounds.

Because giant anteaters have poor eyesight and hearing, their noses are their most valuable tool. Their tubular snouts and long tongues allow them to reach in tiny spaces where insects and ants might be hiding. The giant anteater is considered vulnerable, with its population declining daily.

The zoo is open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. More at www.chattzoo.org.

Source: Chattanooga Zoo