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In 2014, Melburnians were enthralled at the birth of Man Jai, a baby Asian Elephant. And just this month we got Kanzi, a new gorilla.
Now, only a year later, visitors can enjoy the newest member of the animal kingdom to join the Zoo: Wormy.
Yes, viewers can now feast their eyes on a beautiful baby earthworm.
“We were all so excited when he was born,” says Dr Melissa Kosh, Melbourne Zoo chief medic. “Even the CEO was present. There was barely a dry eye in the room.”
The 1.4-gram earthworm was born around 2pm last Tuesday, making him by far the cutest critter in an enclosure.
“It was a difficult birth, says Dr Kosh. “For a few minutes it was touch-and-go.”
Wormy came out from his incubator-like cocoon with some eight other newborns, but he was clearly the pick of the litter.
“He’s just adorable. Kids can’t get enough of him,” says Dr Kosh. “And at feeding time … well, it’s standing room only.”
So where did he get the name Wormy?
“Yes, it’s an odd name for a worm,” confesses Dr Kosh, “And quite a funny story about it too.”
“Soon after he was born, we were scraping around for a name, and the CEO said on a whim, ‘What about Wormy?’.
“To be honest, it didn’t go down well at first. Lucky the CEO has a sense of humour.
“But after a few hours, I guess the name just stuck. … Odd as it sounds, he just looks like a Wormy to us.”
Fortunately for zoo visitors, Wormy won’t be the youngest animal for long. The zoo has three new expected arrivals on the way.
Whilst they are keeping quiet on what species the new bubs will be, they have offered a clue.
“All we can say is that we’ve chosen names already,” says Dr Kosh. “In the spring, look forward to meeting Sluggy, Wormy 2 and Poultry.”
In the meantime, zoo visitors can check out Wormy, and then make their way to see another species that enjoy worms: the pelicans.
Note: Melbourne Zoo is seeking a new PR and Marketing Manager. The last person vacated that role very quickly.
This story is dedicated to my dear friends Narelle, Jeremy, Barbara and Natasha – to whom critters like Wormy are close to heart.
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