The Internet Is Freaking Out Over This Adorable Baby Fanaloka — See Why

·2 min read
The baby spotted Fanaloka born at the Nashville Zoo
The baby spotted Fanaloka born at the Nashville Zoo

Courtesy of Nashville Zoo

The first spotted fanaloka born in the U.S. made its debut at Nashville Zoo last month — and its cuteness has us swooning.

The pup — which is a little-known species native to Madagascar — was born to two fanalokas who recently arrived at Nashville Zoo. The male pup is healthy and is being hand-reared by veterinary staff at the zoo, according to a press release shared with Travel + Leisure. It's not clear if the adorable animal has a name yet.

The newborn currently fits in a palm but will eventually grow to the size of a house cat.

The three fanalokas are the only type of their species currently at an AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) facility in the U.S. Nashville Zoo is working to raise awareness of the animal and will be participating in conservation efforts.

The zoo also announced the happy news on Twitter.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Fanalokas are listed as a vulnerable species, due to habitat destruction. Fanalokas tend to live in Madagascar's wooded areas. But due to deforestation, logging and charcoal production, their natural habitat is disappearing. The animal is also threatened by hunting, according to the IUCN.

Since the small fanaloka debuted to the world, people have fallen in love with the face that looks like a combination of a fox and a weasel. But don't let the adorable face fool you, the species is considered to be the second-largest predator in Madagascar. They dine on small mammals, reptiles, bird eggs, aquatic animals and insects.

They are nocturnal and have a typical lifespan of about 21 years, according to the University of Michigan's Museum of Zoology

The zoo announced the birth of the animal last week, saying that it is available for public viewing at the Veterinary Center's neonatal care room. In addition to the newborn fanaloka, visitors will also be able to see a hatchling king vulture in the neonatal care room.

The zoo is open every day until 6 p.m., with admission ranging from $16 to $25 for adults.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.