Fun Tamandua Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Tamandua Facts For Kids

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There are two tamandua species in the anteater genus: the southern tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla) and the northern tamandua (Tamandua mexicana). The southern tamandua is an anteater native to South America. Since it is medium-sized and smaller than its closest relative, the giant anteater, the southern tamandua is also known as the lesser anteater.

With their partly prehensile tails, these animals live in forests and grasslands and can be seen mainly in Venezuela, Northern Argentina, Southern Brazil, and Uruguay. This collared anteater is primarily active at night, but it is also seen during the day. It is a land and tree creature that survives by eating over 9000 insects every day!

Do you know how this creature got its name? In Tupi and Brazilian Portuguese, the word 'tamandua' means 'anteater' and refers to all anteaters. The pronunciation of 'tamandua' is "tuh MAN doo-wah". The name loosely translates to 'insect eater,' describing the fact that this animal's primary diet is insects. 

Fun Tamandua Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Ants, termites, and insects

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

3.3-18.5 lb (1.49-8.4 kg)

How long are they?

Body length: 13-35 in (34-88 cm) Tail length: 15-26 in (37-67 cm)‍

How tall are they?

Tamandua is not a tall animal

What do they look like?

Brown, gray, black, and tan

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Snakes, Pumas, And Jaguars

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Tropical Forests And Grasslands


South America And Central America









Tamandua Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a tamandua?

The tamandua is a medium-sized anteater mainly found in forests and grasslands around Central and South America. It primarily consumes ants and termites.

What class of animal does a tamandua belong to?

The tamandua belongs to a class of Mammalia and is a member of the Tamandua genus. Tamandua tetradactyla is the scientific name of the southern tamandua.

How many tamanduas are there in the world?

The scientific literature on the population ecology of southern tamanduas is scarce, and so there is no clear count of the population of tamanduas. However, density is a crucial parameter for estimating population size and tracking population health, and we do know that forest landscapes have the highest density of southern tamanduas.

Where does a tamandua live?

Southern tamanduas are terrestrial, semi-arboreal animals, meaning they spend half their time in trees. They live in forests and grasslands as feel at ease in trees, which they search for termites, ants, or bee nests. These anteaters are also often found near rivers and streams and sleep in hollow tree trunks or burrows of other animals when they are not active.

What is a tamandua's habitat?

The tamandua's appearance helps it survive in Central and South American forests and scrub habitats. In Venezuela, northern Argentina, Uruguay, and southern Brazil, the southern tamandua can be found at elevations of up to 6,500 ft (1981 m). Wet and dry forests, plantations, gallery forests, thorn scrub, and arid savannahs are all habitats for northern tamanduas. They also swim between islands in Panama quite frequently.

Who do tamanduas live with?

Tamanduas are usually solitary animals, except when they are breeding. This lesser anteater moves slowly and is only active for about eight hours a day, with the remainder of the day spent relaxing.

How long does a tamandua live?

The average tamandua lifespan is between 9 and 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

Tamanduas typically mate in the fall, and female tamanduas can have several estrus cycles during the breeding season. The estrous cycle lasts 42 days on average. Their gestation period lasts between 130 and 150 days. Twin births are not unusual, but they are infrequent. Like other anteater animals, the young anteater holds on to their mother's back for the first few months of their lives. The young spend about a year with their mother before achieving sexual maturity and living independently.

What is their conservation status?

Despite their widespread distribution, tamanduas are at risk from hunting. Some hunters say that tamanduas kill dogs, making them a target. They are also often slaughtered for the thick tendons in their tails, which are used to make rope.

The exact number of southern tamanduas found in South American wild environments is unknown, but this species is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN red list of threatened species.

Tamandua Fun Facts

What do tamanduas look like?

Tamanduas in the south have a heavy, short coat. Depending on where they live, their coat color changes. A physical description of a tamandua will tell you that they tend to have black marks over their shoulders and backs, and the majority of their bodies are tan or blond. Their tails have no fur on the underside, which helps them grab tree branches more tightly as they travel through the forest.

They have big claws that resemble those of their relative, the giant anteater's paws. Tamanduas' forefeet have four clawed digits, while the hindfeet have five. To avoid being pierced by sharp claws, they walk on the outside of their hands. They will grip the branches with their hind legs, and their long curved claws assist them in climbing rainforest trees. Their claws are essential for protection and digging for food.

Tamanduas have sticky and long tongue

How cute are they?

The Tamandua tetradactyla, commonly called the southern tamandua, does have a striking appearance. Its cute markings, which include a big black band around their body and a black "V" running down their back, should not be overlooked.

How do they communicate?

When threatened or disturbed, the southern tamandua communicates with "hiss" noises and releases a foul odor to ward off predators.

How big is a tamandua?

A southern tamandua is 21-31.5 in (53.3-80 cm) long, with a prehensile tail that is 15-23 in (38.1-58.4 cm) long. External anatomy alone makes it almost impossible to distinguish an adult male from a female.

How fast can a tamandua run?

Tamanduas usually have a sluggish, shuffling gait but can gallop at speeds of more than 30 miles per hour (48 km per hour) when necessary.

How much does a tamandua weigh?

An adult Tamandua tetradactyla (southern tamandua) weighs from 3.3-18.5 lb (1.5-8.4 kg), and there is no significant difference in size between males and females.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The exact names by which male and female southern tamandua are called are unclear. In general, a male anteater is called a boar and a female is called a sow.

What would you call a baby tamandua?

A tamandua baby is called a pup. A pup is born after a pregnancy that lasts between 130 and 150 days. Young tamanduas cling to their mother's back for the first few months of life.

What do they eat?

The average Tamandua tetradactyla (southern species) diet primarily consists of ants and termites, however, they occasionally eat honey and bees too. They avoid eating army ants and leaf-eating ants, which have good chemical defenses. Tamanduas eat fruit and meat in captivity.

This collared anteater has a unique mouth and tongue that allows it to consume up to 9,000 ants in a single day! Tamanduas don't have teeth, but they chew their food with their stomachs after swallowing it. Their sticky tongue with tiny barbs and 16 in (40 cm) length is ideal for stealing ants and termites from their homes. An acute sense of smell also helps this animal identify food sources such as termite mounds. Southern tamanduas have a low body temperature, which helps them deal with the minimal amount of energy they get from their small prey.

Are they dangerous?

Although this animal is blind, deaf, and toothless, it can be dangerous sometimes, especially the giant anteater. Although attacks are uncommon, and anteaters generally avoid human contact, humans should be careful not to intrude on anteater territory.

Would they make a good pet?

Tamanduas are not common pets. When kept in captivity, their cage must be as broad and tall as possible so that the tamandua can safely climb up onto tree branches. Apart from insects, fruits, meat, honey, and bees are also fed to this animal in captivity.

Did you know...

Did you know that tamanduas have small eyes and poor vision, but their sense of smell is excellent?

Tamanduas, like all anteaters, are classified as Vermilingua, which means 'worm tongue' and refers to their long tongues.

Can you have a pet tamandua?

Technically yes, but these animals must be well looked after, fed a special tamandua diet, and a lot of research is required. Most tamandua lovers might prefer to adopt an anteater from the World Animal Foundation or other similar organizations instead, so that you can watch it grow from afar.

If you do want a southern Tamandua pet it will be pricey (between $3000 and $8000). The best place to try and buy one in the United States is at a wild animal auction.

How do tamanduas behave?

Tamanduas rely on their tail and claws to protect themselves. When threatened in a tree, the southern tamandua uses its hind feet and tail to grab a branch, leaving its arms and long, curved claws free for combat. If attacked on the ground, this Tamandua tetradactyla (southern tamandua) backs up against a rock or tree and catches the attacker with its forearms. They use their formidable claws and powerful forelimbs as self-defense.

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

Written By
Kidadl Team

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