What’s a fanaloka? Nashville Zoo celebrates first one ever born in the US

The Nashville Zoo has welcomed a new member to its animal family — a baby spotted fanaloka, the first of its species to be born in the United States, according to the zoo.

The spotted fanaloka, also known as the Malagasy civet, is a small carnivorous mammal native to Madagascar, according to National Geographic. They are not found naturally anywhere other than the island off the coast of East Africa. The species is considered vulnerable due to deforestation of its habitat and hunting by humans for food.

Weighing about 3-4 pounds and measuring just over a foot long as adults, fanalokas feed on small rodents, reptiles, frogs, birds and crabs.

Nashville Zoo’s fanaloka was born on April 29, shortly after its parents arrived at the zoo, according to the zoo. The three are the only known fanalokas to be living at a zoo in the United States.

“We are honored to have them here and to help conserve this vulnerable species!” says a post on the zoo’s Facebook page.

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