Romy the giant anteater makes a splash at Dudley Zoo
Giant anteater, Romy, loves nothing more than splashing about in her swimming pool.
So much so, that keepers at Dudley Zoo are letting the two-year-old stay out past bedtime so she can enjoy the water for longer.
They are then returning to tuck her in for the night at around 10pm on warm evenings.
Senior Keeper Sam Grove, said: “We tend to find Romy comes out in the late afternoon and during sunny days she loves exploring her enclosure and taking a dip in the pool, so we let her enjoy a few extra hours out before coming back and getting her in for the night.”
Romy moved into her larger enclosure earlier this year, which also includes the pool, an outdoor arc shelter and a two-metre-tall termite mound.
The extended paddock took in the Western Grey kangaroo enclosure, home to Harold and Lou, so as part of the move they were relocated into Romy’s former enclosure.
The giant anteater turned two earlier this week and to celebrate keepers filled her enclosure with some of her favourite treats with avocado topping the list.
Romy arrived at the zoo in July last year from Olomuc Zoo in the Czech Republic as part of a European Studbook programme.
Within a few days, she had already made a big impression on staff and keepers who were keen to spot such an unusual species.
Romy is the first giant anteater at the attraction in its 80-year history.
A distinctive solitary species, found in the tropical forests and grasslands of Central and South America, anteaters have no teeth and use their long tongues, which can project more than two feet, to eat up to 35,000 ants and termites a day in the wild.
However, Dudley's ant population is safe as captive anteaters eat a gruel supplement mixture packed full of meat, maize, fish oil and vitamins and minerals, which the zoo orders in specially for Romy to enjoy.