When a Southern Three-banded Armadillo pup was born at Poland’s Zoo Wroclaw one morning in May, zoo keepers kept a close eye on how the mother, Hermiona, interacted with her newborn. By that afternoon, the staff realized that Hermiona was showing no interest in her pup and did not nurse him, so they decided to hand-rear the infant.
The little male pup is named Spock. Getting Spock to eat was a challenge at first – he would not drink from a bottle. Keepers tried using an eye dropper at feeding time, but Spock didn’t like that, either. One day, Spock started licking milk from a tiny bowl. With practice, he is now a pro at slurping up his supper.
The zoo reports that Spock is developing well and tripled his weight by the time he was 6 weeks old.
Southern Three-banded Armadillos are native to the southern interior of South America. They collect ants and termites on their long, sticky tongue. The shell, which is made of keratin, is the same material that human fingernails are made of. Southern Three-banded Armadillos are one of only two types of Armadillo that can roll completely into a ball for protection.
Once Spock is mature, he will likely be moved to another zoo, where he will be an important part of the breeding program to support this species, which is listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Destruction of the dry chaco habitat and its conversion to farmland are the major threats to the species.
See more photos of Spock below.