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Mystery anteater birth, no mate required

The birth of a baby anteater has zoo staff puzzled, since the adult male and female have been separated for eight months.

Story highlights

  • Anteater birth surprises zoo staff
  • Adult anteaters were separated eight months ago, staff says
  • One pregnancy theory is "delayed gestation," staff says

How does a giant anteater get pregnant and give birth without her mate?

It's a question the staff members at the LEO Zoological Conservation Center in Greenwich, Connecticut, have been asking themselves since discovering the baby anteater in April, the Greenwich Time reports.

The story began in August, when Armani gave birth to baby Alice. Male anteaters commonly commit infanticide, so Alf, the father, was removed from the enclosure. He has remained in a separate space since then, the Time reports.

As far as zookeepers know, Armani and Alf haven't had contact since August. Yet eight months later, little Archie was born.

The normal gestation time for an anteater is six months. Marcella Leone, founder and director of the conservation center, told the Times that the pregnancy and birth could have been a case of delayed implantation, when "fertilized eggs remain dormant in the uterus for a period of time."

Other experts told the Times that scenario is unlikely.

    Armani and Archie seem to be doing well, zoo officials say.

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