November 9, 2012

October 31, 2012

an anteater halloween

You may remember us raving last year about a sublime giant anteater costume. Well, here are two more excellent Halloween anteaters, one by Brett Manning on Flickr and the other by noted baby photographer Tom Arma. Have a safe and happy Halloween, everyone! •>~

October 22, 2012

baby anteater - the song!

Giant anteaters rarely make it into song, but our furry long-nosed friends are the subject of a sweet new tune from children's singer-songwriter Alison Faith Levy. The number, "Baby Anteater," is one of 11 tracks on her 2012 release, World of Wonder. Other songs on the album include "Eye of the Tornado" and "I had a Rooster," but there's no secret as to which is tops among the lot... It goes:

"Riding around on your mama’s back
She’s running around and you just sleep right though
Clutched on tight, you’re such a funny sight!"

A California native, Levy is a well-heeled public performer who also teaches "Tot Rock Classes" in the Bay Area. Giant anteaters, she tells me, are "a big fave with my little kid fans...they put their arms out like snouts and go around on the floor when I play, pretending to pick up ants!" That sounds like the anteater boogie to me! •>~

September 29, 2012

say cheese!

Some of you may know that our National Zoo, run by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., has been home to a number of giant anteaters over the years (see, for example, A Visit to D.C.). What may surprise you, however, is that the Smithsonian also supports the study of animal behaviors in the wild! To wit, the giant anteater photo above was captured in a Peruvian forest as part of a research project that used a camera trap—a popular method for observing animals in their natural habitats.

So what the heck is a camera trap? Here's how it works: Scientists set up cameras in remote places where wild animals are thought to roam, and whenever the camera senses motion or body heat, it snaps a series of pictures! The main benefit to science of such a system is that biologists don't have to waste time sitting out in the jungle or in an open field waiting for an animal to come along. Plus, since the camera is an inanimate object, animals are much more likely to approach!

If you're curious to learn more about the Smithsonian's camera trap programs, visit their WILD site, which explains how it's done in a bit more detail. You can also check out some of the wild animals they've seen this way, from birds to bears to leopards to (of course) anteaters. •>~

Update: Don't miss these two fantastic videos of a giant anteaters doing their thing in the woods. The first was caught with a camera trap some 500 meters from the Amazon Rainforest Conservation Center Lodge in Las Piedras, Peru. The anteater's backside looks pretty wet...wonder if he/she was just coming in from a swim? The second provides an insightful look at an anteater wallowing directly in a water hole.

August 20, 2012

three fabulous paintings

I spy some excellent anteater art! First up is a gorgeous piece by a Spanish artist from the Canary Islands, Miguel Bethencourt. Next is a whimsical mom-and-pup scene by Susan Stockdale, which can be purchased at her Etsy shop. And the last find is a unique work by the Drake Studio. Painted skillfully on ceramic tile, it can also be had via Etsy. •>~

June 6, 2012

annie predicts the playoffs

Could the outcome of tonight's National Hockey League playoff game be riding on the snout of one cuddly anteater? It might seem that way, as Annie, a seven-year-old giant anteater at the Bergen County Zoo in Paramus, NJ, recently "predicted" the Los Angeles Kings to win over the New Jersey Devils for this year's Stanley Cup. The demonstration brings back memories of Paul, the German octopus who correctly "predicted" his home country would lose to Spain in the 2010 World Cup of soccer. Indeed, with the Kings already up 3-0 in the best-of-seven series, tonight's game 4 could be vindication for an anteater who was asked to choose between a team from the City of Angels and a team whose home ice is just 20 miles from her zoo enclosure.

So how did Annie get into the Stanley Cup-predicting business? Glad you asked. It turns out the stunt was the brainchild of a local television station that wanted to drum up publicity for the hockey finals. Irene Egan, the supervisor of zookeeping who regularly handles and cares for Annie, actually confessed that several other animals—including a toucan, a hedgehog, and a pig—were tested for the prediction contest, but that Annie won over the producers' hearts. "They thought she was the most interesting animal," Egan said. Well, of course she was ;)

As for the contest itself, I learned from Egan that each bowl was filled with an array of Annie's favorite treats—things like oranges, bananas, avocado, and eggs—as a means to "enhance her interest." And while our fine furry friend gravitated right away toward the bowl representing the team from LA, in the end she licked both bowls clean. "She's pretty food-motivated," said Egan.

Annie first arrived at the zoo when she was a pup, around seven years ago. And truth be told, "Annie" is not her official name, but rather a nickname that Egan and the other keepers have for their long-snouted resident. She is the lone giant anteater at the zoo, which is not unusual, since giant anteaters mostly live on their own in the wild. "She likes to take a nap a lot of the time," Egan remarked.

Of course, all of this is prediction stuff is pure whimsy. But in a world where grown men go for weeks without shaving or changing their socks for fear of breaking whatever lucky streak they've got going, I'm sure little Annie has made Kings fans across the nation smile from ear to ear. •>~

UPDATE 11/11/12: Well, it looks like Annie was right all along :) Congrats to the LA Kings for winning their first Stanley Cup!

May 9, 2012

the cute and the claws

This adorable photo reminds us of two things: 1) Even baby giant anteaters have super-long tongues; 2) Holy moly, mom has some seriously fierce weaponry! •>~

Anteater Baby Tongue by Josef Gelernter (JosefGelernter) on
Anteater Baby Tongue by Josef Gelernter

March 26, 2012

hello, choccy!

The Longleat Safari Park in the UK welcomed a new giant anteater pup this week, a cutie named Choccy. The pup's mother, Maroni, apparently gave birth during the daytime in front of a gathering of staff and visitors! Check out the link for more pictures of mom and baby. Welcome to the world, Choccy! •>~

March 17, 2012

artsy anteaters

Decided to do a little digging for some new giant anteater art, and I came up with some great finds! The anteater dictionary page by The Rekindled Page and the illustration by Luka of an anteater and a chameleon can both be found on Etsy. The lovely super-sized anteater can be ordered as a print, a shirt, a hoodie or a laptop skin from Society6. Last, but not least, I wanted to show off my custom-made doormat from Damn Good Doormats. It's almost too nice to wipe my feet on! •>~

mod anteater woman

I know nothing about this mystery woman except that she has a very lovely pet. Wonder if she was friendly with Salvador DalĂ­? •>~