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Baby anteater gets great service in Berlin

February 7, 2009 |  9:18 am

Baby Anteater

Benita, a baby anteater born in December at the Berlin Zoo (a place that's no stranger to adorable baby animals), is being bottle-fed by her keepers because her mother was unable to feed her. 

Fun fact: Baby anteaters are known for emitting a "high-pitched screech worthy of a velociraptor."  The Washington Post explains:

The shriek is what keeps it alive: Anteater mothers are fairly blind and none too bright, and the cry kicks in the mothering instinct. "It's like, 'What's this noise? What's this noise? What's this noise? I gotta make it stop,' " [National Zoo animal keeper Marie Magnuson] said. "Kind of like humans and crying."

It's also probably why some baby anteaters born in captivity have died: Their easy-to-startle fathers have wound up killing them. "The sound kind of freaks them out," Magnuson said. And they start slashing with their razor-sharp claws -- which can beat back a jaguar attack -- to make the noise go away.

Here's hoping Benita can learn to keep the noise to a minimum!

--Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Steffi Loos / AFP/Getty Images

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