Teaching Tamanduas to Participate in their Healthcare

Our Animal Care Team Makes Vet Visits Fun!

Every animal at Reid Park Zoo receives the highest quality veterinary care available, but providing good care isn’t just about veterinary medicine — understanding and shaping animal behavior is equally important! Our veterinary and animal care teams work together to provide care in ways that minimize stress and allow each animal to voluntarily participate in their care needs.

A few regular patients are the Zoo’s tamanduas. These small anteaters receive regular check-ups in our animal health center.

“We are taking the radiographs as part of their preventative wellness plan and annual exam that includes bloodwork, full body radiographs, and fecal examination,” shares Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Alexis Roth. “This happens every 6-12 months depending on their age.”

But what’s the best way to take a radiograph of a tamandua? To teach them that it’s fun! The tamandua care team developed a plan to teach the tamanduas to hold a still position on a custom-built stand to allow for voluntary radiographs to be taken. The tamanduas learned to pull up the front half of their bodies and remain still for a reward of some of their favorite treats like yogurt and honey! A combination of treats and time with their favorite caretakers makes these check-ups fun!

The tamanduas have also learned to allow their blood to be drawn voluntarily, as have many animals at the Zoo. Our animal care team is always looking for ways to make vet care as stress-free as it can be! We’re so proud to have such creative and dedicated animal care specialists at Reid Park Zoo!