Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

The terrific sloth bear trio of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod had talent to spare—and shared it with visitors from cubhood to adulthood.
  • 1950s
  • 1960s

Named after characters from a famous children’s poem, the Zoo’s sloth bear trio, Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, had personalities worthy of their own story. Upon arrival at the Children’s Zoo on April 15, 1953, the cubs almost immediately began to compete for the title of cutest. Agile and active little Wynken, reported by ZOONOOZ to be the “dancer” of the group, “could win a jitter-bug contest very easily, but Blynken or Nod just won’t dance with him.”

Blynken, on the other hand (or paw), preferred to play at being the big bad wolf by huffing and puffing at everything—and failing to bring anything down. Nod, apparently the sensitive one, is noted to have shown apparent chagrin about his dirty feet. The little bear would hold up a paw to show to visitors, while simultaneously covering his eyes with a front paw and hanging his head—much to the delight of the adoring crowds.

As the bears grew up and out of their Children’s Zoo home, they were relocated to a new exhibit in Bear Canyon. Nod may have previously turned down Wynken’s invitation to dance, but they apparently found something in common. On December 15, 1958, Wynken and Nod’s baby arrived, marking the San Diego Zoo’s first successful birth of a sloth bear cub.

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