A newborn aardvark at Busch Gardens® Tampa is stealing the hearts of its caretakers, who are helping bottle feed the baby, which they characterize as unusual looking but adorable.
Park officials say the baby aardvark was born September 18th. It is healthy and is currently being cared for by its mother Izzy. While mother Izzy forages at night, the Busch Gardens animal care team bottle feeds the baby and monitors its health through routine check-ups.
This is Busch Gardens' fifth successful aardvark birth and is part of the park's participation in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan.
Newborn aardvarks are sometimes referred to as "ugly cute" with elongated noses, large floppy ears and hairless, wrinkly skin. After two weeks, the folds of skin disappear and, around three weeks, the ears will begin to stand upright.
The baby's sex will be determined within the next few weeks, along with the team's decision on a name.
The mother and baby are currently behind-the-scenes at Busch Gardens. The baby will be part of Busch Gardens' animal ambassador program, helping to educate guests about this species and their counterparts in the wild.