May 10, 2019

Happy Mother’s Day from our Zoo mothers to yours. This past week we highlighted some of our #ZooMoms. Here is a look at some of the Zoo's special mothers.

Motherhood can be a challenge for any species, including me, an echidna. At the risk of being an annoying topper, try becoming a mother when you are an egg-laying mammal living in the wrong hemisphere, covered in sharp spines and pursued by equally prickly males whose idea of courtship includes relentlessly following you for days on end in a parade of raging male hormones. I ask you, can a girl even stop to eat? Of course, when the end result is a baby called a puggle and looks like the photo below, our dedicated human caregivers can’t bear to give up! The keepers continually fine-tune our reproductive management by working with colleagues in our native Australia. Light cycles, luscious substrates, gorgeous nest boxes and even a yummy new food straight from the land down under are all perks us echidnas enjoy with hope for the day a small leathery egg makes its way into our pouches! - Alice Seyfried, Curator of the Children’s Zoo

Orangutan mothers are some of the best in the animal world and Merah is one such example. Orangutan infants have a lot to learn from their mothers and are dependent upon them for up to 6-8 years. Merah has taught her daughters, Rubih and Ginger, how to build the perfect nest, how to best peel an orange without using their fingers and how to use all the feeders that keepers give them for enrichment. Rubih has had the opportunity to observe Merah raise younger sister, Ginger, so hopefully one day Rubih will be an exceptional mother as well! - Helen Boostrom, Zoological Manager of Primates

Photos: Robin Winkelman 

You may be familiar with Bingwa and her eight cheetah cubs born at the Saint Louis Zoo in 2017, but the Zoo is now home to another mother of eight. On April 9, a Chinese crocodile lizard (shinasaurus crocodilurus) gave birth to eight babies. The babies are currently behind the scenes, but visitors can see the adults on display in the Herpetarium. Photos: Justin Elden #ZooMoms

Chimpanzee mothers play an important role in a young chimpanzee’s life and often form life-long bonds with their sons and daughters. This strong bond can be seen between Rosebud, the oldest chimp in the group, and her adult daughter, Utamu. These two always have each other’s back! A young chimpanzee learns a lot from their mom including social behaviors and tool use. Besides teaching the best way to get into any enrichment device, Rosebud passed on her amazing social skills to her daughter. These two are the highest-ranking females in the group and are often seen in the middle of any grooming session. - Helen Boostrom, Zoological Manager of Primates


There is a new mom in Red Rocks this Mother’s Day. Two babirusa piglets were born on February 28 to mother Lucy and father Itchy. Meet Marge and Maggie. These births are the result of a breeding recommendation by the Babirusa Species Survival Plan. This is a cooperative program that manages this species in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. #ZooMoms Photos: Robin Winkelman

Giant long-legged katydids may not seem like the most attentive mothers, but they make sure their babies get a “leg up” on life after hatching. The mothers do this by laying their eggs securely and well camouflaged in rotted logs using a sword-like appendage called an ovipositor. Invertebrate keepers will be anxiously awaiting the eggs to hatch in the next 3 to 6 months. See if you can find the eggs hidden in the photos below! In addition to a fearsome looking ovipositor, these animals taste with their feet, smell with their antenna and hear with their knees! Stop by the Insectarium to learn more amazing facts about the unique animals under our care.- Renee Hazen, Invertebrate Keeper Photos: Dylan Cebulske, Invertebrate Keeper
#ZooMoms #MothersDay