Photographs of Baby Olinguitos Have Been Released
A new species of carnivore was discovered this year in the Americas – the first in 35 years. The olinguito is the smallest member of the raccoon family and it looks like a small bear. They grow to be about 2 pounds (0.9 kilograms). They are endemic to the forests of Colombia and Ecuador, which are notoriously difficult to study because of the thick fog. Olinguitos are completely arboreal and are able to jump from branch to branch. They have a single pair of mammary glands, leading scientists to believe they only give birth to one offspring at a time. And, as you can see, that single baby is completely adorable.
While the olinguito is rightly placed in the Carnivora order, its diet makes it an omnivorous frugivore. This means that while it does ingest other animals it much prefers to dine on fruit, like figs. Insects and nectar are also present in the olinguito’s diet.
Olinguitos have actually been known to humans for over a century but had just been misidentified as olingos, a close cousin. A female olinguito had been sent to a few different zoos in a breeding program but obviously was not successful at mating. Not only did we discover that oliguitos are a completely new species, but there are actually four sub-species as well.