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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Giant Anteater Facts You’ll Never Forget

Here are some giant anteater facts for you to learn more about the mammal

Giant anteaters have a long nose with a 24 in (2 ft) long tongue and no teeth. They have reduced hearing and sight, yet they have an exceptionally evolved feeling of smell.

These giant anteaters come in different shades of brown, with wide black stripes running from their upper front legs to their spine. The front part of their legs are white, and they have a bushy tail. They have no undercoat to give them warmth, rather they have short hair on their shoulders and longer hair on their tail and legs, which resembles a horse mane. Anteaters secure their sharp front claws by getting them into their palms and strolling on their front knuckles. Their back feet and paws are more like bears. They stroll in a lethargic, rearranging step however when it is fundamental they can dash at more than 30 mph (48 kmph). They can likewise climb and swim. As they are the largest of the four anteater species, they can reach 70.8-86.6 in (180–220 cm) in length. It is almost impossible to find differences between the adult male and female using external anatomy alone. Giant anteaters can be easily found in Central and South America except for Guatemala, El Salvador, and Uruguay where they are Extinct. They live in grasslands, wetlands, and tropical forests.

Anteaters will keep away from danger if possible. In the event that they need to safeguard themselves, they will raise up, steadying themselves with their huge tails, and utilize their incredible hooks. Grown-up anteaters are rarely vocal. In the event that the youthful do express noises, they are usually sharp, high-pitched snorts.

Research has shown that anteaters can distinguish specific types of ants or termites by smell. When taken care of, sticky saliva covers the tongue entirely. The 24 in (2 ft) tongue is connected to the sternum, and flicks in and out between 150 and 155 times every minute. Anteaters feed only on termites and ants, whose homes they tear open with the help of their incredible forelimbs and hooks, and afterward consume the insects with their sticky tongues. They burn through around 140 creepy crawlies from each hill during feeding. They seldom drink, and instead get their water from the food they eat, or dampness left on plants after a downpour. Anteaters primarily eat termites and ants. They can even eat up to 30,000 ants a day.

Giant anteaters arrive at sexual development at three to four years old. Growth occurs over 180 days. They give birth to a single offspring, and nurse the baby from their mammary organs situated on the chest. After birth, the pup trips onto the mother's back where it stays for as long as a year. As it develops, it gets autonomous. A pup is nurtured for half a year and leaves its parent by age two.

There are four existing anteater species which include the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), northern tamandua (Tamandua mexicana), southern tamandua (known as the lesser anteater, collared anteater or Tamandua tetradactyla) and silky anteater (also called the pygmy anteater or Cyclopes didactylus). As the name suggests, the giant anteater is the largest of these species.

Anteater giant belongs to animalia kingdom, the phylum is chordata, class mammalia, pilosa order, family myrmecophagidae, myrmecophaga genus, and, m. tridactyla species. The giant anteater is said to be Vulnerable by the IUCN. Threats to giant anteaters survival include habitat destruction, poaching, and fire, although some anteaters inhabit protected areas. They fall under the Endangered species list mostly due to habitat loss.

You should also check other fun facts on tamandua or Cuban solenodon.

Giant Anteater Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a giant anteater?

Anteater giant is basically an ant bear.

What class of animal does a giant anteater belong to?

Anteaters belong to the class mammalia.

How many giant anteaters are there in the world?

There are only 5,000 giant anteaters left in the wild, while a smaller number of 90 live in zoos across the US.

Where do anteaters live?

Anteaters live in the wild.

What is a giant anteater's habitat?

Anteater species range from the Gran Chaco region of Bolivia in South America to Honduras in Central America and are found in tropical and dry forests, savannas, and grasslands except for Guatemala, Uruguay, Argentina, and El Salvador, where they are considered to be Extinct. They are perfectly designed to feed on ants, which are a very reliable food source for this species.

Who do giant anteaters live with?

Giant anteaters live in their home ranges. They mostly live in solitude except during the tenures of mother-child relationships. Sometimes, aggressive interactions amongst males can be seen while mating.

How long does a giant anteater live?

Female giant anteaters live around ten years and males for 14 years. However, they can live up to 26 years in captivity and human care.

How do they reproduce?

Anteaters reproduce sexually like all mammals. To secure their young, the mother insect-eating animals will carry their young on their backs.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN lists, the conservation status of the giant anteater is Vulnerable. Only about 5,000 giant anteaters remain in the wild, although they are considered Extinct in areas of Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Uruguay.

Giant Anteater Fun Facts

What do giant anteaters look like?

Giant anteaters are very unmistakable looking. Their long snout contains a sticky tongue that can reach up to 19.6 in (50 cm). They have long sharp claws for opening up termite mounds and ant hills. These claws are enormous to the point that the creatures seem to stroll on their wrists. They additionally have a bushy tail which they use as an overhang. They have a good sense of smell, sticky saliva, strong hind legs, and are the largest of the four species of anteaters. They can mainly be found in Central America.

Giant anteaters are quite tall and heavy animals.

How cute are they?

Giant anteaters are cute enough. They have silky smooth fur, a long nose, and their furry tail.

How do they communicate?

Giant anteaters avoid dangers if possible. In the event that they need to guard themselves, they will raise up and steady themselves with their huge tails, and utilize their amazing sharp claws. Adult giant anteaters are rarely vocal. If the young do vocalize, it is a high-pitched and ear-splitting snort.

How big is a giant anteater?

The giant anteater reaches a length of about 70.8-86.6 in (180–220 cm), which includes the long bushy tail, and they weigh up to 55-115 lb (25-55 kg). On their hind legs, giant anteaters are taller than a grown man. The giant anteater is equal to the size of a golden retriever, but their thick bushy hair makes them look even bigger.

How fast can a giant anteater run?

Anteaters usually walk in a lethargic, rearranging gait. However, when it is vital they can run more than 30 mph (48 kmph). They can also climb and swim.

How much does a giant anteater weigh?

Giant anteaters weigh between 55-115 lb (25-55 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The name of the species for both male and female giant anteaters is Myrmecophaga tridactyla.

What would you call a baby giant anteater?

Baby giant anteaters are called pups.

What do they eat?

They prey exclusively on social insects such as ants and termites. Such dietary focus helps them in learning the physical form and behavior of the species.

Are they loud?

Giant anteaters are not loud, because they rarely make sounds. When they do make noises, it is mostly while they are still young and the sound is a sharp, shrilly grunt noise.

Would they make a good pet?

The southern and northern tamandua and the silky anteater are the most well-known anteater pets, and having them is generally unregulated. However, you might need an extraordinary creature permit or license from your local authorities. Obviously, this all relies upon where you live. So check with your local humane society. According to a survey, those who have anteaters as their pets say that anteaters are as loving as dogs. They respond when their names are called and ask for attention too.

Did you know...

Anteaters love sleeping as much as 15 hours each day. Giant anteater ways of life seem to rely upon the human populace around them. The more populated the territory, the more probable the anteaters will be nocturnal, but in less populated regions, anteaters are diurnal. In spite of the fact that they are shy and normally endeavor to maintain a strategic distance from people, giant anteaters can deliver extreme injuries with their front claws and have been known to seriously injure or kill humans who threaten them. An anteater could also kill a puma. These grown-up insect-eating animals can weigh more than 88 lb (40 kg), which is about the size of a small female jaguar, and they will not hesitate to fight when attacked.

Do giant anteaters have teeth?

Anteaters don’t have teeth. They slurp up their prey with their long sticky tongues.

What are giant anteaters related to?

The nearest relatives to the giant anteater are probably the pygmy sloth, who both shared a common ancestor over 55 million years ago.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including anteater, or ring-tailed lemur.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Giant anteater coloring pages.

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