One of the animals who resides in the Oasis at Disney’s Animal Kingdom recently celebrated a birthday at the park! Annie the Anteater just turned 20 years old, and Disney’s dedicated team of Animal keepers helped her celebrate with a homemade cake made of all her favorite treats.
Above, Annie is feasting on her birthday cake made of favorite anteater-approved treats like sweet potatoes and avocados. (Annie has a diverse appetite, in addition to ants. On previous birthday she’s celebrated with similar cakes and other treats like romaine lettuce, yogurt, and orange slices.)
While Annie loves tearing up lettuce for a tasty treat, she is also a big fan of sweet potatoes and citrus. Cast Members are also careful to keep animals like Annie in line with their natural diets that while largely consisting of ants can still have some fun and extra nutrients included.
To encourage natural behaviors like foraging, Cast Members use an insectivore diet of about 30,000 ants per day (in accordance with what anteaters eat in the wild) mixed with frosty treats and water, similar to a human smoothie, but add in the ants!) The mixture is then hidden under logs in Annie’s habitat so she can snack throughout the day. While anteaters do eat thousands of ants in a day, they do not often consume an entire colony at once, so Annie’s treats are spread throughout her environment.
Anteaters like Annie are unfortunately categorized as a vulnerable species due to declines in their populations that are largely the result of habitat loss. Disney’s Animal Kingdom them has the goal of teaching Guests about this incredible species through animals like Annie so they can be inspired to support conservation efforts.
The Disney Conservation Fund has done some significant work with anteater populations, providing over $1.7 million in support to groups working on rehabilitating anteaters’ rainforest habitats in Central and South America. And, Guests can support work done by the Disney Conservation Fund by making a donation during their visit at any quick service dining or merchandise location. Disney matches every donation and covers all of the fund’s overhead costs.
Be sure to visit Annie during your next trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdomtheme park, and wish her a belated happy birthday! You can find her in the Oasis exhibits, as you enter the park before you reach Discovery Island and the Tree of Life.
And, for more animals in this Disney park, don’t miss your chance to ride a Kilimanjaro Safari on the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, and walk the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and Maharajah Jungle Trek.
Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."