This cute baby armadillo has been born to first-time parents Vespa and Scooter at a US zoo and as can be seen in this footage of it crawling around on a blanket it is so small it can fit in the palm of a human hand.
The southern three-banded armadillo (Tolypeutes matacus), also known as Azara’s domed armadillo, was born at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in the city of Tacoma in the US state of Washington in late October.
The little pup, which is yet to be named, was born to parents Vespa and Scooter at the zoo. She can be seen in the footage taking some of her first steps, with her eyes still closed. At one point, the adorable baby armadillo can also be seen curling up into a ball.
In a statement, the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium said: “The pup is the first healthy armadillo pup born at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in its 116-year history.”
Head veterinarian Dr Karen Wolf is quoted in the zoo’s statement as saying that the female armadillo pup is “healthy and the perfect little replica of her parents.”
Assistant curator Maureen O’Keefe remarked: “We’re thrilled to welcome this pup into our animal family.”
Zookeepers said they monitored mum Vespa “around the clock” leading up to the pup’s birth.
O’Keefe commented: “Vespa was trained to allow us to give her voluntary ultrasounds throughout her pregnancy. She’d even let us feel her belly without curling up in a ball, allowing us to give her the care she needed.
“Vespa is a natural at parenting and caring for her pup.”
Now nearly three weeks old, the pup weighs around half a pound and is so small that she can easily sit in the palm of a hand.
The pup is starting to open her eyes and will remain out of the public eye until she bonds with her mother and has developed enough.
The zoo said: “The pup’s birth is the result of a breeding recommendation for Scooter and Vespa by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Southern three-banded armadillos.
“The SSP looks at the genetic makeup of each prospective parent before recommending a pairing; this helps ensure diversity of armadillos in North American zoos.”
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium added: “Southern three-banded armadillos are native to the southern interior of South America. They are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Primary threats include habitat destruction as native grasslands are converted to farms and hunting and capture for the pet trade.”
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