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San Diego Safari Park names Tamandua Pup after Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr.

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Posted at 12:11 PM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 20:57:44-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — In honor of the San Diego Padres, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has decided to name one of their newborn Tamandua Pups after shortstop and outfielder Fernando Tatis Jr.

Tatis Jr., whose parents are named Fernando and Cora, was born on Friday, August 6, and lives at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

The tamandua pup weighs around 2907 grams. From the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail, he is about 26 to 28 inches in length. His height while standing upright on hind feet looking up is about 22 inches. 

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According to zoo officials, Tatis Jr. is a very curious tamandua, who loves to explore, climb, ride on mom’s back, wrestle with a plush anteater, and nap. Wildlife care specialists describe him as curious and confident and his favorite food is currently waxworms. 

“We are elated to have this little pup in our care,” said Lisa Peterson, executive director, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

“Both mom and pup are doing very well—and Cora is an attentive mom, keeping her pup nestled in their den the majority of the time, but venturing outside for up to an hour some days. It is great to see the pup developing, using her strong claws to cling to Cora’s back with confidence as Cora climbs about the habitat.”

Park officials say Fernando plays no role in helping raise the pup and does not share the same habitat as mom and baby. Tamanduas are typically solitary animals, except when mating.

Southern tamanduas are a type of anteater and are often called lesser anteaters because they are much smaller than their relative, the giant anteater.

Native to Central and South America, they are at home in trees and on the ground. They have small eyes and poor vision but have acute senses of hearing and smell. 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, according to SD Safari Park.