Winsol the Aardvark at Cincinnati Zoo Update

Winsol the Aardvark at Cincinnati Zoo Update

Our aadorable aardvark has a name! Meet Winsol, named after the winter solstice on which he was born. Join us for a Facebook Live with Winsol and his Mom, Ali, this coming Monday at 10 a.m. to see the AadorableAardvark and hear about his progress from his care team

Ali, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s 13-year-old female aardvark, gave birth to a baby boy on December 21, 2017.  Since then, mom and baby have been bonding behind the scenes with a little help from the Zoo’s animal care team, who have named him Winsol because he was born on the winter solstice.

Neonate and aardvark care staff members are closely supervising mom and baby interactions during the day to ensure that Ali doesn’t accidentally roll over or step on the infant.  “Aardvarks are notoriously clumsy, and we are intervening to make sure that nothing goes wrong. Other zoos have had success with this intensive rearing approach.  Ali is comfortable around people and doesn’t seem to mind all the attention from her caregivers.  They sit with mom and baby all day and step in to reposition the calf when he’s under foot or not in the right nursing position,” said Mike Dulaney, curator of mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo.


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The care team could be dedicated aardvark babysitters for two or three months.  As soon as the care team is confident that little Winsol can hold his own, he and Ali will move to the aardvark habitat in Night Hunters.  The calf’s father, 23-year-old Diggy, is viewable there now.

Winsol is the first healthy aardvark baby to be born at the Zoo since 1994.  He weighed about three pounds at birth and has doubled that amount in two weeks. According to head neonate keeper Dawn Strasser, “He came out with personality!  He was active right away and walked about five days sooner than most aardvark babies do.  His ears also perked up days before most do.”

Can’t wait to see the wrinkly rascal?  Join us for a Facebook Live with Winsol and Ali this Monday at 10 a.m. to see the #AadorableAardvark and hear about his progress from his care team.

Aardvarks are nocturnal mammals native to central and southern Africa. They have powerful claws that they use to rip open rock-hard termite mounds to obtain food and sweep their pig-like snouts from side to side to sniff out insects and lick them up with their long, sticky tongues. They typically weigh between 88 and 145 pounds. With long, donkey-like ears they are able to listen for signs of predators, like lions and leopards, while foraging for their own food.

Supporters reacted:

Linda Fornero Such a strange looking little critter. Your zoo has done more to promote animals that a person (me) normally wouldn't have affection for. I love that.

Donna Oleksiuk This is a delightful video! Thank you so much. Really enjoying your posts about little Winsol ! 

Amy Jackson He is so very adorable. And ouch, ouch, those nails on Ali's tender abdomen! But she doesn't seem to mind. *Good mommy*

Kathy Wynne Rossell OMG I love the name Winsol! What a beautiful name! He is just adorable! He looks very playful and full of energy! I will be looking forward to watching Winsol grow!

Mary Sue When you put up the post asking for name suggestions I suggested “Winter” in honor of his Dec 21 birthday so I am very happy with this name choice!

Carla Welch Cox Question—why don’t they have much hair? It would seem they would need all the protection they could get when eating termites.

Eileen Nosky Amazing! I think I chose the wrong career. And probably not. There are probably not so happy times at a zoo.
Perfect name!

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