SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — A newborn at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has a famous name. The male southern tamandua (pronounced tuh MAN deh wah) pup, was recently named Tatis, in honor of Padres superstar, Fernando Tatis, Jr.
And better yet, his father's name is Fernando!
Native to Central and South America, southern tamanduas are a type of anteater, and are often called lesser anteaters because they are much smaller than their relative, the giant anteater.
Keepers say Tatis, Jr. is a very curious pup who loves to explore and climb around.
The zoo said when the mother, Cora, is ready, she will bring her pup out where guests may see them on a Behind-the-Scenes Safari at the Safari Park’s Wildlife Connections habitat or up close during an unscheduled wildlife presentation inside the Safari Park.
Here are some fun facts about the tamandua pup:
- Tamanduas feed mainly on small insects like ants and termites. Using their specialized mouth and 16-inch-long sticky tongue, tamanduas eat up to 9,000 ants in a single day.
- Tamanduas are covered in thick, coarse hair that helps keep ants from reaching their skin.
- Their enormous front claws help tamanduas climb in trees, and are also used for defense and when digging for food.
- They use their prehensile tail for balance and support while climbing.
- Tamanduas are sometimes called “stinkers of the forest,” as they may release a very unpleasant odor, similar to a skunk's, from a gland at the base of their tail when a predator gets too close.
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