With oversized ears and wrinkled grey skin, aardvark baby Memphis may not be winning any beauty contests—but she has been melting the hearts of visitors to Frankfurt Zoo since she was unveiled to the public on Aug. 22.
At one and a half months old, Memphis is now old and strong enough to appear in the viewing enclosure along with her mother.
“She’s not a very experienced walker yet and she hasn’t quite got her feet under control, but that will come,” zoo curator Johannes Koehler told Reuters.
Memphis was named in honor of her father Elvis, who died shortly after she was born. In their natural habitat aardvark fathers are not involved in the upbringing of their young, so Memphis will learn how to dig and search for ants and termites from her mother Ermine.
“At night they go and look for food, insects like ants and termites, and they can search up to several kilometres from the burrow. They have very strong claws for breaking things open and getting their long sticky tongues inside,” Koelher explained.
Memphis still needs time to develop the large, spade-like claws that she will use for digging burrows a nd breaking open termite mounds. At seven kilos, she is still significantly smaller than her expected adult weight of 40 to 65 kilograms.
Frankfurt Zoo has been breeding aarvarks sine 1925. Elusive, nocturnal creatures, aardvarks are rarely seen in the wild. They live mainly in sub-saharan Africa.