African Painted Dog at S'pore Zoo seen eating newborn pup

Nature is metal.

Ashley Tan | October 26, 2021, 01:29 PM

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A recent visitor to the Singapore Zoo spotted something that most might not typically see in such an institution.

Chewing on pup

The visitor, who was viewing the zoo's African painted dog exhibit, subsequently shared some videos of the occurrence to Facebook.

In the clips, an adult member of the pack can be seen gnawing on something in its exhibit.

It is later revealed to be what seems like a small African painted dog pup.

Another adult member walks over to sniff at it before wandering off.

The Facebook user speculated that the pup might have been a stillborn, and shared that he alerted the zoo staff after the sighting.

Other visitors at the time believed the adult to have been feeding on a mouse, as the pup was "really that small".

Although others noted in the comments section of the post that the animal might have been chewing on something the zookeepers had fed it, the original poster said it was too early for feeding time, and zookeepers had rushed over to the scene after being alerted.

Warning: Graphic videos and images below may be distressing to some

Video from 李生伟 / FB

Video from 李生伟 / FB

Video from 李生伟 / FB

Photo from 李生伟 / FB

Infanticide occurs in the wild

In response to Mothership's queries, the Mandai Wildlife Group (MWG) confirmed the incident, sharing that it was recorded by its animal care team on Oct. 22 at around 11am.

MWG explained that it is not uncommon for mothers in the wild to abandon newborns that are not doing well.

"While it also seems harsh, often the dead newborn would be consumed as a means of recycling proteins," MWG said.

According to National Geographic, mother bears, felines, canids, primates, and many species of rodents have been seen killing and eating their young.

Once these mothers give birth, they must start nursing their young, which can only be done when the babies are healthy and well nourished.

In the event that the babies are unhealthy or deformed, or should the mother be unable to find enough food to eat, she will kill and consume her babies.

A mammal curator at the Smithsonian's National Zoo told National Geographic that to the mothers, these babies become a resource that shouldn't be wasted.

There have also been instances of male animals committing infanticide in the wild, as this gives the adult males another chance to mate with the mother sooner.

It is uncertain if the adult African painted dog feeding on the pup in the Singapore Zoo is its mother, or another member of the pack.

Top photo from 李生伟 / FB