The Izu Shaboten Zoo is located in the city of Ito, Shizuoka prefecture, and has all sorts of animals such as capybaras, chimpanzees, and kangaroos. It’s also home to another species: the anteater. In fact, there’s even a whole family of anteaters living there.

This family is where baby Kei comes from. Kei is a male anteater born in the zoo on June 2, 2020, to papa anteater Don and mama anteater Cocoa. Unfortunately, Kei’s background isn’t that simple, and he’s been given a rough start on life.

Shortly after he was born, Kei was abandoned by his mother. This meant that the zoo caretakers had to swoop in and take care of him before he became too weak.

To nurse him back to health, the caretakers placed Kei in an incubator and was artificially feeding him milk every day for up to 6 times a day. This helped Kei grow from being 293 grams at the time of birth to weighing 498 grams now.

Luckily, the caretakers had prior experience nursing baby anteaters. Two of Kei’s older brothers, Kon and Toto, were also abandoned by their mother when they were born last year. Thanks to the caretakers’ efforts, today, both brothers are back to full health and happily spending time with the rest of their family.

The caretakers are working hard to get Kei on the same path; they hope that after the 3 to 4 months of weaning, he can rejoin his brothers and parents to form one happy anteater family.


By - Jen Santelices.