Phoenix Zoo welcomes newest resident, a tamandua named Ernie

Apr 18, 2024, 4:05 AM

Ernie the tamandua is the Phoenix Zoo's newest animal...

(Phoenix Zoo photo)

(Phoenix Zoo photo)

PHOENIX – Animal lovers in the Valley can say hello to the Phoenix Zoo’s newest four-legged resident.

Ernie, a one-and-a-half-year-old tamandua, came to the Valley from New York City’s Staten Island Zoo, officials announced on Wednesday.

These animals are also called lesser anteaters. The name comes from their size: they’re smaller than their larger counterparts, the giant anteaters.

Tamanduas live in forests and grasslands. They mainly eat termites and ants, although they’re known to indulge in bees, beetles and insect larvae from time to time.

These critters also have huge claws that help them climb rainforest trees in their Central and Southern American forest and scrub habitats, according to the San Diego Zoo.

Ernie is nocturnal, which means he’s active at night but often sleeps during the day.

Where in the Phoenix Zoo can visitors see Ernie the tamandua?

Ernie is on the Children’s Trail section of the Phoenix Zoo.

This part of the zoo lets children get close to small animals from around the world. Some of the other critters in this section include tamarins, siamangs, red-necked wallabies and emus.

Ernie shares a habitat with Fernando, a two-toed sloth.

Fernando is also nocturnal, so he and Ernie are less active during the day, zoo officials say. However, nighttime is when the two get to know each other.

Those who visit later in the day may notice how quiet Ernie is. That’s because adult tamanduas usually aren’t vocal, according to the Phoenix Zoo.

When tamanduas are around other adults or babies of their own species, they can hiss, snort, roar and sniff, zoo officials said.

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Phoenix Zoo welcomes newest resident, a tamandua named Ernie