Baby anteater takes liking to teddy bear after mother's rejection

A lifeless teddy bear has taken on the role of surrogate mother to a baby giant anteater after it was rejected by its biological mother.

Beanie the anteater came into the world a month ago, but first-time mum Inca was not in a well enough state to look after her newborn, and refused to mother it.

London Zoo specialists have been looking after Beanie and say she's taken a special liking to her teddy bear.

"Giant anteaters are an incredible species - they're unique to look at and their iconic snouts are perfectly designed to sniff out their food," Beanie's handler Amy Heath told the BBC's Science Focus.

"While they've got no teeth, their claws are the perfect tools for digging an opening into ants' nests and Beanie has been practising her digging skills on her teddy bear, or even sometimes my shoulder."

Beanie is reportedly in a healthy state without her mother, and will continue to be hand-fed until she is introduced to the zoo's anteater community.

Beanie is expected to weigh 45kg when she is fully grown - nearly 30 times more than she does now.