The Wildlife Conservation Society's Central Park Zoo has a new face and a rather funny looking one at that. With a giant snout and a tiny, toothless mouth, Pablo the tamandua certainly stands out in the Zoo's Rain Forest. The tamandua, otherwise known as a lesser anteater, arrived from Brooklyn's Prospect Park Zoo, another Wildlife Conservation Society Park.
Southern tamanduas, like Pablo, are indigenous to the Amazon basin and wet and dry forests of northern South America. They are rare in some areas, due to habitat loss as settlers move into their range. They are solitary, nocturnal animals and spend most of their day sleeping in tree hollows. They are rarely found on the ground, where they would be vulnerable to predation.
The long nose, hairless prehensile tail and large claws may make for an interesting looking mammal, but serve very specific purposes. Tamanduas use their big claws to dig into the trees, where they spend most of their time. Their tail wraps around the branches and anchors them to the tree, and they use their long snouts and exceptionally large tongues to dig into holes and fish out insects, especially termites and ants.
Pablo can be found on the upper level of the Zoo's Rain Forest. Although an anteater usually loves ants, Pablo's favorite treat happens to be wax worms. He is enjoying his new home in Central Park, and Zoo visitors are certainly enjoying watching him acclimate to his new home as well.