New Babies at Nashville Zoo's Veterinary Center

We have a full house in the neonatal rooms at our HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center!

[October 27, 2021] - We have a full house in the neonatal rooms at our HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center! Two caracal kittens, a Palawan binturong, and a banded palm civet have all been born this fall and can be seen in the neonatal care rooms at the Zoo's Veterinary Center.

Caracal Kittens

Two caracal kittens were born at the Zoo last Sunday, October 17, to a pair of caracals that live behind the scenes here at the Zoo. The kittens are being hand-reared by the Zoo's veterinary team. 

Nashville Zoo is now home to eight caracals. Two breeding pairs live behind the scenes, and two male caracals (Zain and Samir) are a part of the Zoo's ambassador animal program. Zain and Samir can sometimes be seen on the Zoo's guest pathways or during the Zoo's Wild Works Animal Shows.

Caracals (Caracal caracals) are native across Africa and the Middle East to India. The most notable feature of this species is their black ear tufts. Caracals are extremely agile and can jump nine feet straight up to catch flying birds. While caracals are not considered endangered, their habitats are threatened by human development. 

Palawan Binturong

Our male Palawan binturong kit is just over three weeks old and is being hand-reared by the Zoo's veterinary team. He recently graduated from the incubator to the playpen. This kit was born to a pair of binturongs that live behind the scenes here at the Zoo. One of the defining characteristics of binturongs is that their urine smells like buttered popcorn.

Binturongs are sometimes called bearcats, even though they are not related to bears or cats. This subspecies faces a conservation challenge due to the destruction of habitat and pet trade. Nashville Zoo participates in the Palawan Binturong Species Survival Plan (SSP), an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) program to maintain healthy and self-sustaining captive populations. 

Palawan binturongs (Arctictis binturong whitei) are categorized as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are large nocturnal mammals native to the forests of Southeast Asia.

Vinnie the Banded Palm Civet

Vinnie, the male banded palm civet, is almost two months old now. He was born to a pair of civets living behind the scenes. Vinnie is being hand-reared by the Zoo's veterinary team and in the past couple of weeks has transitioned from milk to soft foods. 

Civets are nocturnal, so Vinnie spends most of his day napping. He is almost fully weaned, and our hope is that Vinnie will become an ambassador animal here at the Zoo. 

Banded palm civets (Hemigalus derbyanus) are categorized as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are native to the rainforests and jungle of Southeast Asia. 

Guests can stop by the nursery window at the Zoo's Veterinary Center to see all the cuteness. The public can also see the caracal kittens through the News2 Nursery Cam or on Nashville Zoo's website. Stay updated on these babies and more via Nashville Zoo's social media.

About Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo is a nonprofit organization and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, assuring the highest standards of animal care and husbandry. The Zoo is actively engaged in conservation research, habitat protection, breeding programs, and education initiatives around the globe as well as in our own backyard. With support from the Nashville community, donors, and sponsors including our Experience Partners: Coca-Cola Consolidated and Middle Tennessee Honda Dealers, the Zoo is a top Nashville attraction and is consistently voted one of the best places to visit by TripAdvisor, Yelp, and a host of local and national review sites. Nashville Zoo is located at 3777 Nolensville Pike. For more information about Nashville Zoo, visit