We didn't measure her right away, since she was traumatized enough by her experience in the river, so the first measurement was done after 3 weeks with us:July 22nd measurements
full length of her body is 23 centimeters
from the nose to the beginning of her tail- 12 cm
tail length- 11 cm
waist line- 9 1/2 cm
July 31, 2010
Vet checked her again and said that she is in a very good shape. I explained to him that the more i read about the way the zoos and other people took care of tamanduas, the more i realize that those suggested diets are far from ideal, but it is mostly because they do not have what I have- jungle all around me. So, i am moving away from those suggestions to the more natural way- make sure that she eats as many as possible ants and termites, and exclude cat's food all together, since it has too much of Vitamin A and D in it. He agreed that this is the best way to go about it.
So, we are working on that- i continue bringing her as much as possible to different termites locations, let her work on the ants nets on the orange trees, and also introduced the over-riped avocado and banana, as well as oranges and grapefruits. All those fruits were mushy enough for her to eat, and she is learning how to use her claws to help her with mushing it even more. I am thinking that i will continue introducing all the fruits that she could naturally find here in Belize and watch which one she is chosing, and then rotate them. I am thinking that in nature they probably do not get a variety of fruits every day- whatever they find on each day, that is what they eat, one day may be it is banana, one day may be avocado,,,
She ate almost 1/3 of avocado today and spent almost 3 hours working on the termites nest.
Aug 2, 2010 Obtained alot of information from different websites on the wild tamandua diets. Found out that in a lot of zoos around the world the diets for a long time were not correct and tamanduas were receiving excessive amount of vit A and D. To avoid that, a number of sources suggest to use a mixture of dog's food that has low amount of any additives, mix with flax seed and water. I am trying to use it as a supplement to her natural diet which is so far works very well- she eats a lot of termites and ants.
Aug 5, 2010
showed her how to claw watermelon, she loves it. She spent almost 2 hours straight mushing it and eating it and then the same thing with the orange- she loves them. She becomes more independent, spends more time away from me, but as soon as something goes wrong, she climbs straight onto my head,, just like she would do in nature with her real mother. She eats a lot of termites, small ants and i give her spinach, avocado, tomato and banana as an additional source of vitamins. I noticed that she doesn't like rainy days- she prefers not to climb anywhere in the rain- looks like because her claws are slipping off the wood.
Aug 11, 2010
She enjoyed more and more climbing up the trees and picking ants, termites, today she tried the cocoa pods, but she get scared if she is too long away from me, or if the ants are bothering her,, or soldier termites crawl all over her.Then she in panick very quickly comes down off the tree straight onto my head.
Aug 18th, 2010
She becomes more and more at easy exploring her surroundings outside. She has a very distinctive routine: sleeps through the night, wakes up around 9am, and very slowly moves around, likes to sit on my head and look around as we walk outside. At that time of the day she doesn't want to go on the ground or any trees. After 1/2 hour walk she eats some fruits: watermelon, pineapple mixed with flaxseed and chlorophyll, red beans and grapefruit juice. After that she goesin the termites box that we have in the living room and spends there aprroximately 1 hour, after which she climbes out and goes to the kitchen, to one particular spot where she poops everyday. Then she is ready to go outside for ants. I try to do all my work around her schedule, so while she is looking for ants nests in the walls of the lodge, i have to be near her, otherwise she panics. Around 12, she goes to sleep for a bit- sitting on my shoulders, kind of circled around my shoulders and neck. Wakes up around 3, then we continue with the walks, she eats termites outsides, we go for a long walk on the river and then when we get home she eats the mixture again. If she didn't have too many ants or temrites, i give her dog's food powdered with flax seeds,and powdered chlorophyll and add to the mix of fruits and water.
To see more pics of her please take a look at the slide show at:http://tamanduaworld.wordpress.com/
Aug 20, 2010 We took care of the beef worms that she had in her tail, but there was one that was very big, and since nobody knows exactly how much ibromectin is safe to give to the tamanduas, we need to remove it manually by squeezing it out. Had to go to the vet for the last one in the tail and in on the rib.
Aug 22, 2010 All the beefworms are out, healing very nicely. Started climbing Cahoon palms and becomes more independent, but as soon as there is anything threatening- like stinging ants, she runs in panic toward me, climbs to my shoulder and then cleans herself there.
Sept 22, 2010 Forestry Department came to check on her, they gave us the official paper that allows us to continue taking care of her.
Sept 25, 2010
She is much more active and less dependent on the mixture that we give her. She wakes up around 8am,drinks some water, pees in her enclosure- in the same area every day and then is ready to go outside.
As I garden she move around freely to collect ants and termites, she is very active till 11:30am, then she sleeps for few hours and then active again - with me outside - in the garden. If my work schedule allows we go to the nearby orange fields where she climbs orange trees for the termites. Trees are shorter than ours and she cannot get lost in them- we can see her all the time. She is getting better and better at climbing- makes better choices on picking the right branches to hold on to.
Even though she is so independent now when she is tired, she still goes toward me, climbs on my neck and sleeps there by wrapping her tail around my neck, so even if I move she is securely attached.
Oct 14, 2010
Measured her again: length of body- 36 cm
length of tail- 33 cm
She is so much more independent now that she goes to sleep without sleeping on my stomach for hours. she walks all day long with Alberto- newly hired Wild life keeper, as we call him for now. He makes sure that she doesn't get lost because she moves and moves non-stop, eats and eats.... She has almost no additional food except banana, avocado and watermelon. She mashes avocado herself and can eat 1/2 of a big one at once. Her nose is very wet all the time- healthy wet. We built an outside enclosure as well, to make sure that she has some safe place during the day to go to sleep and eat termites- we bring there fresh termites nests and she spends up to an hour everyday in that enclosure during our lunch, then we call her name and she comes out and continues walking around looking for food.
Yesterday, as i watched her she climbed a tree and went on every single branch collecting ants, till she grabbed the wrong branch, fell down on the ground and ,, continued walking as if the fell had no effect on her.
Nov 25th, 2010
She is feeling fine, but we noticed some blood - she is in heat, for the first time. Her behavior didn't change that much, except that she is more playful- can play for hours. Eats similar fruits as before, a lot of termites and ants, so i give her only small additions of the mixture of the dog food, flax seed which i grind and then add to a mixture of mashed banana and some fruit, or tomato, cucumber juice. She still wakes up around 8:30-9:30 am, eats avocado, or a bit of termites from her enclosure in the house than goes for a walk, climbs the trees searching for ants. We noticed that she is not afraid anymore of any ants- even the red ants and the big ones- black ones. She manages to eat them despite the fact that they try to bite her.
Dec 5th, 2010
For some reason she is still spotting, although they are supposed to be in heat only for 1 week, but she acts as if everything else is normal.
Her weight is 2.5 lbs
Dec 29, 2010
Very energetic, full of energy, some times spends 3-4 hours outside climbing trees and eating small ants and termites, and then comes home and spends another hour tearing apart big termites nests that we keep for her in the plastic container next to her nest.
Sometimes when she sits on the tree, she goes in a trance mode- can sit for 15- 20 mins with her eyes half open or closed in the most strange position- like on a branch that keeps moving back and forth from the wind, or just perching on a branch.
She started liking cahoon nuts that have small holes in them- with the termites in them or a bit of cahoon oil inside.
For the last 3 weeks she started liking coconuts- when she find them and they are already broken, she eats everything inside as long as it is soft- mushy and oily.
Jan 1st, 2011
Notice her spotting again 3 days ago and today- tried to find info on internet about it, but nothing is really there on that topic. Very active, energy is high, behaves like always.
Jan 23, 2011 her weight right now is 3 3/4 lbs, or 1.75 kg
Contacted all people who had any experience with tamanduas and finally found a local Vet who deals with wild life. Reason for that- her bleeding didn't stop- continued since November- some days a bit of spotting, some days alot. Dr Isabelle Paquette :
Dr. med. vet. I. Paquet-Durand
Wildlife Veterinarian and Professor
ISIS - www.isisbelize.com
Secretary - Belize Veterinary Association
Founder - Belize Wildlife Conservation Network
She came to see our Tamandua and suggested to do a series of tests- fecal and urine to determine the reason for bleeding. Fecal test showed a presence of hook worm, which was treated on Jan 19th: as per the advice from Dr Paquette
; "The dosage of the 1% solution for a 1.75 kg Tamandua will be 0.07 cc, which is a rather small amount that you have to draw up with an insulin syringe. Other syringes are not precise enough for amounts that small. Let me know if you are familiar with dosing, ccs and the likes? (insulin syringes usually go up to 100 units (=1 cc) and you would be giving 7 (which equals 0.07cc)). This is the recommended dosage for oral application (wich is basically doubnle of what you would give if you injected it). So mix this with joghurt or treat of your choice with as little food as you think she might just „gulp“ up without too much hesitation (before giving other food). "
I feel sooo much better since we met Dr Paquette, she is a truly caring, genuinely interested in finding out the best solutions and doesn't rush into the treatment, till she is absolutely sure about the dosage and accuracy of tests. She consults with her colleges, since Tamanduas are very sensitive animals.
Since then we did the urine test as well and it looks like it is a urinary tract infection. Since then i read various articles related to it and common information is that it is caused by low acidity that allows the urine to have
dofferent kind of crystals formed. Here is what i read: "
In one of the zoos there was a problem with the struvite stones formed in the urine, so they switched their tamandua to the insectsovore diet and started adding acidifier… but the acidifier that they mentioned is d-I-methionine,,,, which must be wrong,, since I was just reading about it:
DL-methionine is the active ingredient in dog supplements to prevent yellow nitrogen burns to grass from their urine.
There is a growing body of evidence that shows restricting methionine consumption can increase lifespans in some animals.
I am actually thinking that dogs food in this case can be the problem – if it had ingredients that would me making her ph more alkaline,, but then again, I just checked the ingredients of the dog food, that I used to mix f or her- and it doesn’t have methionine,,"
So, far it is all very confusing, but Dr Paquette, was able to find another case similar to mine in Brazil, so i will correspond with them to see what they did and what kind of treatment worked.
Good thing: she is very active every day, moves a lot, looks healthy and behaves healthy despite of occasional bleeding or spotting.
She spends most of the days now like this: 9:30 am - wakes up, eats fruits, drinks water, pees, poops and then waits at the door of the enclosure.. At that time I already wait for her to finish with all those things and carry her outside to walk/climb, dig for ants at Caves branch grounds with her babysitter. At lunch time, we bring her back to the enclosure, where she eats termites. The enclosure is in the house, but we found out that if we keep the termites nests in the big plastic crates- they do not have ability to climb out, so that way , she always has 2-3 crates with termites inside the enclosure waiting for her. After lunch we go to the orange fields where she spends another 3-4 hours climbing on the orange trees which are full of different size of ants and termites. Upon arrival home she likes to play- she invites us to play and then she goes to sleep till next morning. She is not interested in the mixture of dog food anymore, and eats fruits less and less.
Strange interest in olive oil, i give her not every day- once in a while.
Today: while on the orange tree- I saw blood on her lip and then she was very aggravated,, spitting some of saliva. As we tried to determine the reason i saw a big ant that attached itself with his jaws to her ear,, i tried to remove him, but his jaws were literally locked... then i noticed that a similar ant- actually i could only see a part of it, was sticking out of the side of her mouth. She was very aggravated by that, since i cannot open her mouth, i gave her some water, she drank and then continued digging for smaller ants and in few minutes i could not see anymore anything sticking out- she probably crashed it with her gums. She showed no signs of aggravation after that.
When she was small, she used to eat only small black non-stinging ants, now she eats any type- including fire ants, and even though they attack her viciously, it is hard for them to get through her fir, and she very effectively brushes them off with her back leg. If she cannot do it well enough, she stops eating and moves away from the nest- dragging her legs on the ground or grass- and that movement removes all the rest of the ants.
Jan 31 2011
For the last few days here behavior changed- she seems to have full belly of termites and she goes on top of the trees to seleep- she hugs the branches and sleeps fo 1/2 hour, then wakes up and continue exploring the tops of the trees, instead of coming down to the ground. She found the way to swing on the branches so that the gravity would bring them down and allow her to move from tree to tree even if they are far away from each other. Also, she is extremely interested in playing with us- runs in big circles inside the room, then mimics an attack and then runs again, attacks,, runs again. She is playing though, because she is very gentle with those movements.
Feb 1, 2011
For the last few days i was bringing her to the orange fields every day for prolonged period of time- 1-4:30pm, or morning hours and she was climbing right away to the very top of the trees and refuse to go anywhere down on the branches. She would fall asleep hugging to the tallest branch, sleep for 15-20 mins and then continue moving through the tops of the trees- moving from one tree to another.
Diet- no dog's food- just pure of fruits with 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar. I got in touch with the Brazilian Vet Laura Reisfeld
Dr Izabell calculated the dosage, i was ready to star the 7-14 days Tx, but decided to do one more urine test and today the lab processed it- no sign of UT. I will repeat another test in few days.... We have to use human lab since we do not have a proper vet lab.
Strange thing happened: in the afternoon, Gabby didn't want to be outside in the lodge area- she walked back to the house from the usual cahoon palm, three times- walked , very deteremined to get back to the house... she remembered the road very well. I brought her back to the area where she usually looks for ants, but after her 3rd trip home, i brought her upstairs in the house and she went to check on her box of termites and then went to sleep.
She got upset in the morning when she realized that i collected her pee- she is very possesive with it, so she tried to take the container with her pee away from me,,, As Dr Isabelle suggested, for the next few days i will continue collecting samples, but leave it next to her pee area, so she would not worry about it.
Feb 2, 2011
I noticed that in the orange fields, when she walks on the branches she marks her territory with little droplets of pee, or may be she is stopping the ants from following her- i noticed it each time after she was attacked by fire ants, she would move away along the branch and keep dripping behind her.
Today instead of wanting to be on the tree all the time, she went up and down to 6 different trees and then went back- she started walking to the orange fields in the direction of our house, even though we drive there,,, so she was following the direction the way i come by car... she walked for 20 mins, i followed her and was astonished to see that she didn't pay any attention to the ants nests that she was passing. I brought her back to the car at some point, went back home, she was very happy about it and she went to sleep around 4:00pm,, still is asleep right now- 9pm. i think that she had a lot of termites for the last few days, so she probably needs to digest them. no bleeding today.
Feb 5th 2011
length of the body from the beginning of the tail to the nose- 19 in, 48.3 cm
length of tail - 17.5 in or 44.5 cm
her whole body length is 92.76cm
no bleeding this days, very active, not eating any fruits anymore- her choice. The only thing that she likes is orange juice,,, and she is craving olive oil , so i mix apple cider vinegar into it, and she loves it.
Feb 8 2011 had a visit from Robin Brockett, who was in Belize for 16 years doing rehabilitation of monkeys as well as other animals. In her opinion since our tamandua didn't have any milk from her mother when she was younger it is a good idea to give her some of the milk replacement. i give it to her every day- she loves it.
Feb 10-11th- very very active and keeps waking up early- 7:30 am, ready to keep going. she likes only new fresh termites, preferably from the small termites nests. She walks 2 hours in the orange fields- digging ground ants- red ants and then climbing the trees for arboreal ants- 2 different types- very small ones and big ones- black.
12-1:30 we take her home in the enclosure where she checks her termites containers to make sure that it is still there and then climbs in the enclosure from the tree to tree, ready to go again... then drinks some coconut water and we bring her back to orange fields for another 2 hours. Then at 4 she came back home, spend 1/2 hour with new/fresh termites and went to sleep. then she came out around 7pm, ate termites and went to sleep, then at 2am,,, again for termites and then went to sleep.
Feb 12th and 13- unusually fast and eager to go to the orange fields. when she was small she hated rain, today she walked for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon- it was 17 c, and pouring rain, she was covered with mud, but was extremely interested in climbing and climbed the trees non-stop. was unusually rough- scratched me pretty badly, while climbing on me.. very irritated for 2 days- just like last time before she started bleeding in January. And on 13th- we saw that it looks like she is in heat again. it doesn't bother her, she leaked it once or twice, and that was it. surprised that she went to sleep outside her nest, curled in a ball on one of her hammocks.
Feb 14th. woke up 7:30, refused to eat any old termites even though yesterday she loved them. gave her papaya and a bit of milk re-placer and then she was in the fields from 9:30-11:30 am. then 1 hour break in the enclosure and then went back for another 2 and 1/2 hours. at 11;15am she started looking for a place to sleep on the tree, but we brought her home at 11;30, and in the enclosure she didn't want to go to sleep - keep inviting us to play with her in the enclosure. She is very gentle and affectionate today- leeks behind my ears and has interest to my neck and forearm smells and leaks it. this type of behavior was last time as well- 2 days of super activity before the bleed and then very gentle and normal again.
march 30, 2011 Since last time i wrote she was fine, no bleeding. For the last 2 days she was very agitated, behavior similar to the way she was last time when she was going in heat. She is very active these days, yesterday she walked 25 trees- meaning eat ants, termites and then continue climbing to another tree, then another,, climbing, up and down and without coming to the ground, she would get to another tree- stretching a lot to reach for the branches on the other tree.at home we give her watermelon and papaya- 1/2 of it and she claws it and drinks juice and manages to make a huge mess out of it- she throws pieces that she doesn't want in the air away from her,, so it is like a huge circle of mushed fruit on the floor.
April 2 ,2011 she got a bit of bleeding, slept through the first part of the day, then when i brought her to the orange fields, she went straight to the top of the tree and wrapped herself around the very top branch- swinging a bit in the wind, and then didn't want to come down for the next 4 hours- didn't move at all. some of that time she was asleep, but a lot of the times, he was in that "trance" that she goes once in a while when she gets full stomach and then sleeps for 12/ hour /trance like sleep-without moving.
April 3, 2011 She sleeps today all day till 7pm. she drunk some fruit juice in the morning with a bit of yogurt She loves yogurt and i add abit in her meals. She loves coconut water- that she drinks big amounts- like 1/2 a glass. I make a whole in the coconut and she drinks from it. Toady she leaks a lot her blood from the vaginal area- she bleeds a lot today.
April 6th, 2011
It seems that she is still more comfortable eating termites nests in the enclosure and sleep after that,, which is unusual for her. Usually, she likes to go outside for 5-6 hours and then sleeps at night. Now she sleeps during the day. Her bowl movement is fine, and she seems to be totally fine- looks like she is digesting a lot of termites that she ate from those 2 huge nests that we brought her.
april 7-8th- she is eating and sleeping , doesn't want to get out.
April 9th- she woke up in the afternoon and i spent 2 hours with her in the orange fields, she kept climbing the trees, and didn't want to come down at all. As i put her in the car-seat- her plastic box that we use for transporting her, she managed to open it while i was driving. had to stop the car, put some coconut water in her bowl in the container and close her up again- it is only 5 mins drive.
April 10th- she still wakes up at night and tears up termites nests that she has in the enclosure, but she is back to normal- very active during the day. She was today in the orange fields from 10am till 3pm, brought her home, she engaged us in playing with her,, which she didn't want to do for the last week,, and then she drunk a lot of water and went to sleep. Within last week she didn't want to play, didn't want any interaction with us,, and that repeats each time around her being in-heat time. Then she changes her behavior to become very playful and sociable with me.
April 11-12-13- normal behavior- wants to play a lot, spends a lot of time walking on the top of the trees in the orange fields. She eats mostly ants, it is a dry season very hot,, she doesn't seems to be bothered at all by the heat, although drinks a lot of water and coconut water. Her behavior changed back to normal and that is very noticeable because she is very gentle again- while playing, or just regular interaction- she wants to come out of the enclosure and engages us in the playful activity. During her time in heat, she was not gentle at all- she was grabbing with her claws soo badly that it was extremely painful to do anything with her. it was the same thing when she was in heat last time.
April 26, 2011 She was very playful in the fields, even started running around Alberto and playing with him. Very hot day,so at home she drank a lot of water. Her measurement today:
length of the body from the beginning of the tail to the nose- 20 inches, 51 cm
length of tail - 20 inchess or 51 cm, as well.
There were no trails around, the area is hardly ever visited by anybody. There were other tamanduas seen in that area before by our guides.
We didn't release her before February- because she was still too small, and was showing behavior of the animal that is not independent enough to function on it's own.
We didn't release her between Feb and May because the whole country was on fire- dry season fires in addition to the huge amount of debris that was in the jungle after the hurricane in October.
In the second week of June the weather changed, rainy season started and there we no more fires anywhere. At the same time the weather is still very hot during the day, so she will have a chance to dry and warm up after the nights of rain, and at the same time, will have no problems with finding water to drink.
There was a big indication in her behavior that she was ready for the release. For the past number of months she had the same routine-8:30-2:30 in the orange fields, eating termites and ants, having additional Milk
re-placer formula mixed with banana and some fruits upon her arrival from the fields and after that she was asleep in her enclosure. At night, she had a container with termites nest in her enclosure and she was eating them as well. But in the end of May she became progressively unsatisfied with that- she lost interest in the termites at home, and were looking for the way out of enclosure after her 5-6 hours feeding/walking time. She was getting agitated and trying to leave the enclosure at any opportunity- and climb somewhere high. From everything what i have observed, there was a clear "call " in her head- instinct to go in the wild. Since she was very good size by June and still showed complete independence from us, we recognized that it was time to release her.
July 23rd, 2011 Release date: started at 8:00am, went to the area that we investigated a day before. We set up her traveling enclosure between the fallen trees, high of the ground and near the vines that were leading to the old cahoon trees.
She came out of the enclosure and climbed up almost immediately to the nearest cahoon palm and for the next hour she was sniffing the area, eating termites along the way and climbing from tree to tree in the same area. After that, she started moving from the top of the trees in the valley towards the higher trees up the hill. We were able to follow her from 8:30am till 5:30pm. Three of us were observing her from below and from the side of the hill. She was going almost non-stop for all that time, climbing very easily from tree to tree, up and down, showing complete ability to do so. IN that valley there were squirrels, toucans and a family of howler monkeys. We were hoping to see her going to sleep that day,, but since she still was very active by 5:30, we left her for the night. It was a very hot day, in the canopy though there was a lot of wind. We came back the next day at 6:00am, in case if she would be in distress, but could not locate her. we walked there for 5 hours and repeatedly came into that valley for few more days to see if there any problem or just to observe her behavior. We could not see her though. It is a good sign, because those types of animals should be hidden from human eyes and if we would easily locate her the next day, that would give us some concern. Overall- we felt confident that the location was well chosen and she showed all the signs of confidence and instinctive behavior immediately after the release. These were the sizes of the trees that she climbed when we left her on June 23rd.
To see more pics of her please take a look at the slide show at:http://tamanduaworld.wordpress.com/