November 8, 2012

Saint Louis Zoo, 314/781-0900
Susan Gallagher, ext. 4633
Christy Childs, ext. 4639
Joanna Bender, ext. 4703

Web-ready photos at right. Hi-res photos available by emailing

Birth is a rare event at the Zoo!

Draped across her mother's back and blending in with the stripes and long hair is Sabia (pronounced sah-BEE-ya), a baby giant anteater born at the Saint Louis Zoo on August 14, 2012. She will be making her public debut with her mother today, Nov. 8, from about 1-2 p.m. at River's Edge. The viewing schedule for the anteater family is weather dependant and subject to change on a daily basis.

With a long snout and black-and-white stripes, she's a miniature version of her parents – mother Wendy, age 15, born at Phoenix Zoo and father Willie, age 11, born at Oklahoma City Zoo. She weighed just 3 pounds at birth.

This is the second baby for the parents, whose first baby was born at the Zoo in 2005.

Adult giant anteaters are the largest of the four anteater species and can grow up to be 50 inches long, plus 25 to 35 inches of fanlike tail. After a pregnancy of six months, anteaters give birth to a single baby. The small anteater nurses for six months and will stay with the mother for up to two years, until it reaches maturity. The newborn must learn to crawl up on the mother's back to rest while mom looks for food. Adult giant anteaters will eat up to 30,000 ants in one day. The tongue of an anteater will extend up to two feet to capture their prey.

Giant anteaters are in danger of extinction in the wild. They've disappeared from most of their historic range in Central America -- victims of habitat loss. In South America, these animals are often hunted as trophies or captured by animal dealers.

The Saint Louis Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the Zoo and River's Edge is free.

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