A Sussex zoo has been joining the valentines’ celebrations by setting up a romantic date for a pair of giant anteaters - in the hopes of hearing the pitter patter of tiny claws.

Giant anteaters, Raya and Pablo, have been paired up at Drusillas Zoo Park near Alfriston since 2020.

In an effort to get the pair "in the mood" keepers prepared a special valentines pinata, except rather than the typical sweets and chocolates, it was filled with grubs and bugs – the couple’s favourite meal.

Keepers said that Pablo and Raya are both very sweet and gentle-natured.

The Argus: Pablo tucks into the grubs inside the pinataPablo tucks into the grubs inside the pinata (Image: Drusillas Zoo Park)

They have become inseparable over their time together - they now always sleep cuddled up together and Pablo will always wait for Raya before starting to eat his food.

Last Valentine’s Day, keepers prepared a silver service dinner for their new capybara couple, which resulted in the birth of the zoo’s first capybara baby in over a decade.

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To date, Drusillas has never welcomed a baby anteater and despite observing several mating attempts, are yet to see the pregnancy they are hoping for.

The Argus: Raya and Pablo enjoyed their dateRaya and Pablo enjoyed their date (Image: Drusillas Zoo Park)

Head keeper Gemma Romanis said: “Last year we couldn’t believe that our efforts with the capybaras actually worked, when we worked out the dates between the romantic meal and the birth it seems conception may have actually happened that day.”

“We are really hoping we’ve unlocked some kind of cupid magical powers and can be successful a second time, so prepared a special date for Pablo and Raya.

“Anteaters are notoriously difficult to introduce, and there are multiple factors including their size, their claws, their strength, and equally their personalities.”

“Although they were a little unsure of the pinata at first, they soon started tearing into it and the excitement of something new to play with had them galloping around like puppies and we saw lots of flirting going on, so fingers crossed we created a little spark for them.”