NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – On April 29th, The Nashville Zoo welcomed an animal you have probably never heard of – a baby spotted fanaloka – which is a carnivore native to Madagascar.

They are adorable and only grow to be the size of a small cat.

“These guys only get to about two kilograms as adults,” explained Dr. Heather Schwartz, Nashville Zoo Veterinarian. “He’s not going to get very big.”

Dr. Schwartz said they hope this newbie will become an ambassador for his species.

“He’ll actually join our Behavioral Husbandry Department, and go out and meet guests on the path, and be in shows and programs,” Dr. Schwartz said.

He is the first of his kind born at Nashville Zoo and in the United States, according to the AZA database.

The Zoo said his mother was not attentive and would not nurse. Out of concern for his health, the cub was pulled for hand rearing at the HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center.

Visitors can watch him being fed daily. And you can watch him live at any time of the day by connecting to the Nashville Zoo Baby Nursery Cam on News 2 at this link.

Vet staff have worked around the clock to rehydrate the cub and to get him on a bottle. He has since gained weight and is bright, alert and active.

“He’s responded very well to the formula that we’ve chosen for him, which is very much like a kitten formula,” Dr. Schwartz explained. “The feeding schedule, we kind of tweaked it and finally got it worked out.”

  • Nashville Zoo's baby fanaloca
  • Nashville Zoo's baby fanaloca
  • Nashville Zoo's baby fanaloca
  • Nashville Zoo's baby fanaloca

The zoo is proud to be able to be raising this fanaloka to help conserve his vulnerable species.

“I love that we do participate with a lot of different animals that a lot of zoos don’t have,” Dr. Schwartz said. “Raising awareness to the species that a couple of weeks ago no one would know about.”

This young pup will be at the Veterinary Center until he’s about eight to nine weeks old, then he will go to the Educational Center and the Behavioral Husbandry team where zoo visitors can come and see him when he’s out and about.

News 2 has partnered with Nashville Zoo to bring you weekly segments of Zoopalooza. You can watch them on News 2 on Good Morning Nashville on Saturday and right here on

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