Are these Swedish puppies the cutest zoo animals ever?
TT/The Local · 27 Jan 2016, 17:03
Published: 27 Jan 2016 17:03 GMT+01:00
Zoo keepers at Nordens Ark in western Sweden have been bottle feeding 'Rata' and 'Arken' ever since their mother died from tumours six days after giving birth to the twins at the end of last year.
"She went out in the morning and left the den to die. We think the last thing she did was feed the puppies because they had pretty round bellies when we saw them," Camilla Schratz, who has been looking after the pair, told Swedish newswire TT.
The young maned wolves have now begun to put on weight, are increasingly curious about their surroundings and have upgraded from milk formula to lavish dinners consisting of veal or chicken mince mixed with egg yolk, rape seed oil and minerals.
The maned wolf is a dog-like mammal originally from South America. The average adult weighs around 23 kilos and is 90 centrimetres tall.
Although they are not as cute when they grow up, the zoo keepers, like Swedes seeing their pictures, have fallen head over heels for the adorable baby twins.
"I could be professional and said 'not at all, this is just a job'. I could also keep being professional and tell you exactly the truth, that of course you fall totally in love," said Schratz.
If all goes according to plan, their single-dad father will in true Swedish gender-neutral style increasingly take charge of caring for the puppies, including teaching them how to hunt.
"This is the first time we have a lonely male taking care of maned wolf puppies so we don't know exactly how it will play out," said Schratz.
To watch a video of the two babies meeting their father for the first time, click here.