The Giant Anteater

The Giant Anteater


The giant anteater, also known as the ant bear is the biggest of its family, 182 to 217 cm (5.97 to 7.12 ft) in length.


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Anteaters are edentate animals, they have no teeth. But their long tongues are more than sufficient to lap up the 35,000 ants and termites they swallow whole each day. As the largest of all four anteater species, the giant anteater can reach eight feet long from the tip of its snout to the end of its tail. It is covered in grayish-brown fur with white front legs, black stripes running from its chest to its back, and a bushy tail.

Giant anteaters can be found throughout South and Central America, though their numbers have diminished considerably from the latter. To thrive, they need to be able to move throughout large areas with patches of forest. They can often be found in tropical and dry forests, savannas, and open grasslands, where the ants upon which they feed are abundant.

The giant anteater uses its sharp claws to tear an opening into an anthill and put its long snout, sticky saliva, and efficient tongue to work. But it has to eat quickly, flicking its tongue up to 150 times per minute. Ants fight back with painful stings, so an anteater may spend only a minute feasting on each mound. Giant anteaters never destroy a nest, preferring to return and feed again in the future. These animals find their quarry not by sight, theirs is poor, but by their sense of smell, which is 40 times more powerful than that of a human.


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