Who is afraid of the big bad wolf?... well certainly no-one who visits Exmoor Zoo and sees their latest cute arrival – a baby maned wolf.
Danny Reynolds, co-partner at Exmoor Zoo, says: "We have been just recently blessed with our first little baby maned wolf to be born here.
"It’s rather cute and just venturing out for the first time.
"Usually seen within mum’s jaws as she carries it around. The improving weather should mean he/she will be outside under mum’s supervision more often!"
Maned wolves are a unique! Not really a wolf but a big fox-like dog on stilts (at least a metre tall at the shoulder) that has evolved to make a living on the Patagonian grasslands of South America!
The largest Canid of South America the Maned Wolf has given birth for the first time at Exmoor Zoo. Parents “Sabrina” and “Nephew” have welcomed some “puppy power”, one little puppy has been born (13.04.2023) to two of the smelliest animals in the zoo.!
Also known as the “skunk wolf” they have a strong sweet smell that can often be smelt in the zoo car parks on a hot summer day! Thankfully their little puppy is used to this. A litter can consist of up to 6 individuals so our single pup is being well cared for by mum.
When first born, like most dogs they are blind and with dark brown fur for camouflage and at about 10 weeks of age they get their typical red coat and white tipped tails begin to appear. Puppy will be reliant on mums’ milk for another 3 months, but mum or dad have already begun to regurgitate meals for it in the den.
The Zoo director Danny Reynolds says: “We have been part of the breeding program for 15+ years. Initially we just exhibited males so a female from the breeding programme really got us very excited!
“Maned wolves typically only breed once a year and within 8 weeks of her arrival from Shepreth Zoo she had given birth. Maned wolves are a species in decline in the wild. Threatened due to habitat destruction and persecution from farmers it is a wonderful achievement for all of us at Exmoor Zoo”.
The Zoo’s curator Derek Gibson mentioned that “the little pup has been doing great and we are looking forward to watch as he grows into his legs.”. Maned wolves have long legs which is likely to have been down to evolution from the long grassland habitats that they’ve lived in.
“Unlike other dogs they have a diet that consists of 50% fruit.
“A Patagonian fruit called the lobeira which means "fruit of the wolf", has been named after their penchant for this fruit. Unfortunately, they also adore chicken which has bought them into conflict with the subsistent farmers of the Patagonian to their detriment.
“The puppy is just starting to join his parents outside more now (often being carried by mum in her jaws) and hopefully all our visitors with the forecast good weather, will get the chance to see the puppy out this half term and throughout the summer as he grows.”