logo

Rare newborn animal became the star of Denver Zoo, stealing visitors' hearts

Junie Sihlangu
Sep 17, 2018
06:29 P.M.
Share this pen
FacebookFacebookTwitterTwitterLinkedInLinkedInEmailEmail

On August 8, the Denver Zoo welcomed a new animal named Tonks. She’s a member of one of the lemur family known as the aye-aye.

Advertisement

It was born to mother Bellatrix and father Smeagol. The animal’s birth is quite exciting as they’re endangered in their native home of Madagascar.

There are just 24 of these animals in zoos across the whole country. No one knows how many there are in the wild.

These nocturnal primates have lost an estimated 50 percent of their population over the last few decades due to habitat loss and hunting. Seeing an aye-aye in the wild is very rare.

Advertisement

For more on this story go to our Twitter account @amomama_usa. Tonks was named after the “Harry Potter” character Nymphadora Tonks.

Her mother was named after “Harry Potter's” Bellatrix Lestrange while her father was named after “The Lord of the Rings” Smeagol, or Gollum. She is over a month old now and thriving with her mother.

Advertisement

The aye-aye almost didn’t make it in the beginning. Denver Zoo's Lead Primate Keeper Becky Sturges said,

"We noticed that Bellatrix wasn't showing typical mothering behaviors, so we decided to step in to give Tonks some supportive care."

That’s when they decided to provide 24-hour care for the first week and taught Bellatrix how to nurse. Now the mother is nursing well and Tonks has gained a lot of weight.

Advertisement

Despite this, the staff is still monitoring them to make sure things keep going well. Aye-ayes live up to around 20 years in captivity.

They spend their first two or three months nesting with their mother before making their own way into the world. They are non-monogamous, and only have one baby at a time.

Advertisement

While Tonks is in the nest, there will be no new babies. Aye-ayes have yellow-eyes, coarse-hair, big ears, and hook-hands.

Tonks being so tiny means she may nurse for another six months. Her little ears are still floppy but are expected to become more rigid very soon at about six weeks of age.

Advertisement

The animal won’t be seen quite yet as she’ll be spending most of her time sleeping in the nest. However, she’s already won the hearts of the staff.

Advertisement

Sturges said, "The primate team is enamoured and in love with Tonks. Everyone has had a part in helping her succeed. We're so happy that she's actually thriving."

Source: YouTube/Denver Zoo

Source: YouTube/Denver Zoo

Aye-ayes are known as percussive foragers. They drum on wood to find cavities, listening for the small telltale noises of grubs scurrying around inside.

Then they use their sharp incisors to gnaw the wood open and reach in with their long, thin middle finger to grab their prey.

Advertisement
info
Please fill in your e-mail so we can share with you our top stories!
By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
Advertisement
Related posts

5-Year-Old Brother Carries His Little Sister's Coffin to Say Goodbye to Her Forever

April 17, 2022

Former Nurse Adopts Babies No One Else Wants So She Can Spend Their Last Moments with Them

April 18, 2022

Son Kicks Out 80-Year-Old Mother to Nursing Home, Years Later Doesn’t Find Her There — Story of the Day

May 02, 2022

Steve Irwin Would Have Turned 60 This Week — Meet His Children Bindi and Robert

February 24, 2022