Rare Turtle Hatched at Oklahoma Zoo

Madagascar flat-tailed tortoise hatchling.

Madagascar flat-tailed tortoise hatchling. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman

The Oklahoma City Zoo welcomed a Madagascar flat-tailed tortoise hatching last week. Although the baby turtle will not be on display at the zoo, the birth marks a significant step in preserving a critically endangered species.

In the wild, Madagascar flat-tailed tortoises inhabit the closed-canopy, dry forests of Madagascar. They are highly threatened by habitat loss, due to agricultural and highway development, mining, and petroleum exploration.

The turtle birth was part of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Species Survival Plan. For more information, see The Oklahoman.

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Mongoose Lemur Twins at Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa welcomed a pair of mongoose lemur twins earlier this month! The babies were born to mother Rosalita and father Guillermo. The gender of the new babies has not yet been determined. However, around 6-8 months, mongoose lemurs develop distinguishing characteristics based on their sex. Males start to change color and will grow a red “beard.” Females develop a white beard and have a darker face.

In the wild, mongoose lemurs are considered vulnerable of extinction. They inhabit the island of Madagascar, the native habitat of all species of lemurs. But they are unique in that they are one of two species also found outside of Madagascar, specifically on the Comoros Islands, which are located between Madagascar and Africa.

Mongoose lemur and baby

Rosalita and one of her twins.

Mongoose lemur baby

New arrival: Mongoose lemur baby

Mongoose lemurs

Proud parents Rosalita and Guillermo. Did you know that mongoose lemurs make oinking sounds similar to pigs?

(Photos by Matt Marriott/Busch Gardens Tampa Bay)


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Baby Lemur Born at Maryland Zoo

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore welcomed a male baby Coquerel’s sifaka on November 12 and named him Nero. At birth, the baby lemur weighed 94 grams, about the weight of a deck of cards. According to Meredith Wagoner, mammal collection and conservation manager, “Sifaka are born with sparse hair and resemble tiny gremlins, however their white hair soon grows in, and they begin to resemble their parents.”

In the wild, Coquerel’s sifaka inhabit the island of Madagascar. They are endangered as a result of habitat loss from deforestation. Sifaka are different from other lemurs in the way they hop through treetops in an upright posture using only their hind legs. They propel themselves on the ground by side-hopping on their hind legs.

To learn more, see the Maryland Zoo website.

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World’s Largest Spider Web Found

A newly discovered spider in Madagascar builds the longest and largest orb webs in the world. The spider, called Darwin’s bark spider, makes webs that stretch for 25 meters. The webs are built over rivers, stretching from bank to bank. The webs can measure up to 2.8 meters square in area, that’s about 30 square feet!

The webs are made of the toughest biomaterial yet discovered. The web needs to be strong because of its size and the amount of weight it holds. The web can catch 30 or more insects at any given time.

Researchers are trying to discover how the spiders build such large webs.

For more about this amazing discovery, visit BBC News.

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Fossa Cubs Come out for Crowds

You might remember fossas from the film Madagascar, which is also the name of the island they are native to, but today you can see them in Omaha, Nebraska. The Henry Doorly Zoo has just introduced two fossa cubs to visitors.

Fossa are carnivores and they primarily eat lemurs. The are part of the mongoose family and can weigh up to 30 lbs. when fully grown.

For more information, visit Omaha.com, and for a video of the fossas, visit KETV.com.

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Fossa Comes to Denver Zoo

Madagascar is known for its unique animals, one of which is the carnivorous fossa. The fossa is related to the mongoose and weighs about 20 lbs. Fossas have tails just as long as their bodies, about 2 and a half feet, which help them balance while climbing trees. Despite this relatively small size, the fossa is the largest mammalian carnivore on the island.

The fossa that has recently joined the Denver Zoo comes from the San Diego Zoo. He is four years old and named Dorian.

Read more about Dorian and see additional photos at KDVR.com.

Visit the Denver Zoo’s website for more information: www.denverzoo.com.

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