This summer we’ve been having a ball celebrating the arrival of not one but four tiny pups! Our Bush Dog (Speothos venaticus) family has grown once more, with our breeding female, Nina, giving birth to four adorable pups sired by our alpha male, Nico.

On 17th July, the Animal Care Team were paws-itively thrilled to find that Nina had given birth to a litter of tiny pups after a gestation period of around 67 days. After exploring further, they discovered that Nina was caring for four offspring in the burrow of their den. This is Nico and Nina’s fifth litter since arriving in July 2017.

During the first few weeks the pups were housed in their indoor den where they stayed close to mum for protection however, over the last few days, they have started to venture out into their outdoor area along with their siblings.

The pups are yet to be sexed and named. Once their genders have been confirmed their names will begin with ‘S’, following on in the alphabet with mum and dad’s names starting with N. The Animal Care Team named the pairs first litter with O – Oakley, Ozara & Octavia; their second litter with P – Pip, Pele & Pablo; their third litter with Q – Quetzal and Qwiggly; and their fourth litter with R – Rio, Rascal and Rusti!

Whilst these pups will remain with us for now, some of their siblings have transferred to other locations to become part of breeding programmes, helping to ensure the survival of this species. Our male Bush Dog, Oakley, left to join another group at Paris Zoo in January in 2020 whilst our female, Ozara, moved to Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park in March 2021.

Our family now includes Nina and Nico, and their twelve offspring! Our adorable carnivore family can be seen in their outdoor area located at the Lost Madagascar Express Train Station.

Bush dogs are a rare and unusual member of the dog family, but they actually look more like a member of the badger and otter family than a dog!

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