Pet Pages
New faces at the S.F. Zoo

Baby on board: A baby giant anteater rides on its mother's back for the first year
Photo: S.F. Zoo
We may be entering of the Year of the Rabbit, but for the S.F. Zoo it’s the year of the anteater. On Dec. 22, 2010, a giant anteater was born at the zoo for the first time in 10 years. The new baby was introduced to the public in the anteater’s exhibit area on Jan. 20, 2011.

First-time mom Evita is a 2-year-old on loan from the San Diego Zoo. Angelo, the 12-year-old father, also sired the last anteater born at the S.F. Zoo a decade ago.

The pup came out into the public for the first time straddled across mama’s back. It’s common for baby anteaters to hitch a ride on their mother’s back for most of the first year of life. With a giant anteater’s slow shuffle, it’s a pretty comfortable ride.

Mother and pup stay together for about the first two years of the youngster’s life. Giant anteaters grow to about 8 feet long from nose to tail, and can be anywhere from 60 to 140 pounds, with males usually larger than the females. While they live to be about 15 years old in the wild, they have been known to reach 25 in captivity.

So Papa Angelo just might be around for a 2021 baby as well!

A Heftier Hello

There wasn’t as much awww factor, but the zoo also welcomed a new 8-year-old male hippopotamus on Jan. 5. Tucker was relocated from the Topeka, Kan. zoo to make more room for a baby hippo born there last year. Hippos need quite a bit of living area, and while the Topeka Zoo was getting a bit cramped for three, the S.F. Zoo’s newly renovated hippo exhibit and barn had room to spare. Federal Express donated the shipment of the 3,700 pounder and the S.F. Department of Public Works transported him to the zoo.

Welcome Tucker to the zoo with a Valentine’s note on Feb. 12 or 13 and receive $1 off the regular admission price.