NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Welcome “Hoover!”
The Bronx Zoo’s newest star, a baby aardvark, made his grand debut for zoo-goers Friday. Born in September to parents Dora and Arthur, Hoover is the first baby aardvark ever birthed at the Bronx Zoo.
Hoover will remain on exhibit under the watchful eye of his mother as he continues to nurse until he turns three months old. You can find him in his naturalistic nocturnal setting in the Carter Giraffe Building all weekend long. Then beginning Monday, Dora will rotate exhibit times with Arthur until further notice.
According to a release issued by the zoo, aardvarks are completely nocturnal and found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa. They occur in scrub, open woodland, and particularly in heavily grazed grasslands where there are lots of termites. In the wild, aardvarks are powerful diggers and spend the majority of daylight hours in burrows.
“The Bronx Zoo has exhibited aardvarks several times during its long history, but they are notoriously difficult animals to breed and rear and we have never had a baby at the zoo until now,” said Jim Breheny, WCS Senior Vice President and Director of the Bronx Zoo. “Aardvarks are so different from any other species; it is really amazing to have the opportunity to watch a calf develop and mature from birth.”
The name aardvark translates to “earth pig” in Afrikaans. They are also commonly referred to as ant bears. The aardvark has the distinction of being the only member of the family Tubulidentata, which means “tube teeth.”
The Bronx Zoo was the first North American zoo to exhibit aardvarks in 1924. The zoo’s current aardvark exhibit opened in 2008.