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Tigerhomes.org - Bottle Feeding Exotics

By: Jason Abels – Assistant Director www.tigerhomes.org Animal Sanctuary

The decision to Bottle Feed an Exotic Animal is one that should be carefully analyzed as each species has very specific individual Neonatal Requirements. In an effort to keep this section short and simple I will avoid discussing each and every reason for choosing “Bottle Feeding”, as there are many pros and cons. I will say that of all the Bottle Fed Tigers, Lions, Leopards and Primates I have raised, the decision to take over as a Surrogate Mom was due to necessity. In each case Infant Mortality was a high risk with out Human Intervention. For example, it is not uncommon for young 1st time Feline Mothers as well as Primate Mothers to totally abandon their 1st born offspring or litter. It is also not uncommon for older Geriatric Animals, both in primates and felines not to Produce Milk, or enough milk for Multiple Infants. In either case, in many instances it is necessary for Exotic Baby Animals to be “Bottle Fed”.

Bottle Feeding Exotics - White TIger Cub
Jason Bottle feeding "Tundra"
baby white tiger cub.
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See Tundra and Loki on the Sanctuary's Web Cams.

Bottle Feeding White Tiger

Jason Bottle Feeding African Black Leopard
Above: "Midnight" the African Black Leopard.
See more pictures of Midnight and other babies
As I sit here writing this piece a Baby Black Leopard Cub the Tiger Homes Sanctuary adopted is fast asleep next to me after her 2:30 AM feeding. I am getting ready to sleep until I have to wake again at 5:30 AM. I am mentioning this because this is one of the main factors in Hand Rearing Infant Exotics. You are up all day and all night. It seems regardless of the species; the 1st week of life they almost all need a feeding every 2-3 hours (sometimes more, sometimes less) 24/7. As they get older assuming they meet their species specific Developmental Targets this frequency can be adjusted. Currently, Midnight, the Sanctuary’s Baby Leopard Cub is being fed every 2-4 hours as needed. This varies not only with each species but with each baby as well, just like with Human Babies.

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