Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo welcomes armadillo and giraffe babies, saving species

Southern three-banded armadillos are a near-threatened species, but at the Jerusalem Zoo they are safe and sound… and multiplying.

By Abigail Klein Leichman, ISRAEL21c

A newborn southern three-banded armadillo has arrived at the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem, better known as the Biblical Zoo.

It’s the first baby for Quinta, who came from a zoo in Belgium, and Hugo, who came from a zoo in Germany. Zookeepers don’t yet know if the pup is male or female and haven’t given it a name.

The populations of the southern three-banded armadillo are getting smaller, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the species as “near threatened.”

The southern three-banded armadillo and the other member of the genus Tolypeutes, the Brazilian three-banded armadillo, are the only species of armadillos able to curl into tight balls to defend themselves thanks to their flexible bands.

The new armadillo lives in the Peyser-Wexler Small Animal Building, but the zoo warns that visitors will have to look carefully: as nocturnal animals, armadillos perform most activities — foraging, eating, burrowing, mating — at night. During the daylight hours, they spend up to 16 hours sleeping, usually in burrows.

In related news, last month a giraffe from an endangered subspecies was born at the zoo to first-time mother Rotem.