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      • Area of their distribution covers Central and South America, stretching from Belize and Guatemala to northern parts of Argentina. Giant anteaters are found in a wide variety of habitats such as forests, grasslands and swampy areas. They prefer to sleep in sheltered, covered areas. Normally, Giant anteaters are diurnal animals.
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  2. Giant anteater, facts and photos - Animals › facts › giant-anteater

    What is the giant anteater? 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 ...

  3. The largest of the anteater species, this animal has quite small eyes and extremely long, sticky tongue. The fur of the Giant anteater is long, shaggy on its under parts and coarse on its upper parts. This anteater has long, bushy tail and short, strong legs. The head of the Giant anteater is narrow and long, having a small, black snout on the end.

  4. Giant anteater - Wikipedia › wiki › Giant_anteater

    The giant anteater is the most terrestrial of the living anteater species. Its ancestors may originally have been adapted to arboreal life; [10] the transition to life on the ground could have been aided by the expansion of open habitats such as savanna in South America and the availability there of colonial insects , such as termites, that ...

  5. Giant anteater | Smithsonian's National Zoo › animals › giant-anteater
    • Physical characteristics
    • Appearance
    • Behavior
    • Description
    • Distribution and habitat
    • Diet
    • Reproduction

    Giant anteaters have a long, distinctive snout with a 2-foot-long tongue and no teeth. They may have diminished senses of hearing and sight, but they have a highly developed sense of smell.

    These anteaters are distinctively patterned in various shades of brown with wide, black stripes that run from their upper front legs toward their spine. Their front legs are white, and they have a bushy tail. They have no undercoats to provide warmth; instead they have bristly, short hair on their shoulders and longer hair on their legs and tail, which resembles the texture of a horse's mane.

    Giant anteaters protect their sharp front claws by tucking them into their palms and walking on their front knuckles. Their back feet and claws are more similar to bears (they only knuckle walk with their front feet). They walk in a slow, shuffling gait but when necessary can gallop at over 30 miles per hour (48 kilometers per hour). They can also climb and swim. Giant anteaters will avoid threats if possible. If they need to defend themselves, they will rear up, steadying themselves with their large tails, and use their powerful claws. Adult giant anteaters are rarely vocal. If the young do vocalize, it is a high-pitched, shrill grunt. After birth, the young anteater climbs onto the mother's back where it stays for up to a year. As it matures, it becomes independent. A young anteater usually nurses for six months and leaves its mother by age 2. Giant anteater lifestyles appear to depend on the human population density around them. The more populated the area, the more likely the anteaters will be nocturnal; in less populated areas, anteaters are diurnal.

    The largest of the four anteater species, giant anteaters reach 6-8 feet (1.8-2.4 meters) in length, including both nose and tail. They weigh between 60 and 100 pounds (27 and 45 kilograms). However, it is nearly impossible to differentiate the adult male from the female using external anatomy alone.

    Giant anteaters are found throughout Central and South America except for Guatemala, Uruguay and El Salvador, where they are considered to be extinct. They live in wetlands, grasslands and tropical forests.

    Research has found that giant anteaters can identify the particular species of ant or termite by smell before they rip apart the prey's nest. When feeding, sticky saliva coats the tongue. The 2-foot-long tongue is attached to the sternum and can flick in and out up to 150 times per minute. Anteaters feed almost exclusively on ants and termites, whose nests they rip open with their powerful forelimbs and claws, and then ingest with their sticky tongue. They only consume about 140 insects from each mound during a single feeding. They rarely drink, but instead receive their water from the foods they eat or possibly moisture left on plants after rain.

    Giant anteaters reach sexual maturity at 3-4 years of age. Gestation lasts about 180 days (six months). They give birth to a single young and suckle the offspring from a pair of mammary glands located on the chest.

    • Scientific Classification
    • Fast Facts
    • Fun Facts
    • Ecology and Conservation
    • Bibliography

    Common Name

    1. giant anteater


    1. Animalia


    1. Chordata


    1. Tapered head with a long, tubular mouth opening. They have poor vision, but excellent hearing and sense of smell. Their body is long and slender. Their coat is a coarse, dense fur with a gray coloring and a broad, diagonal black stripe edged in white running from neck and chest toward the mid-dorsal.


    1. Head & body length: 100 to 120 cm (3.3 to 3.9 ft.) Tail length: 65 to 90 cm (2.1 to 3.0 ft.)


    1. Male: Males may exceed 45.5 kg (100 lbs.), but are usually 20 to 40.9 kg (44 to 90 lbs.) Female: females 20% smaller

    Giant anteaters prey almost exclusively on social insects (i.e. ants and termites). Such dietary focus significantly shapes the physical form and behavior of the species.
    Giant anteaters do not have teeth; instead, they have tongues can reach as much as 610 mm (2 ft.) in length! As long as the tongue is, it is relatively narrow over the entirety of its length, with...
    Their tongues are covered with tiny spines which point toward the back of the throat. Additionally, their tongue is coated with a thick, sticky coat of saliva (which is secreted from relatively enl...
    The stomachs of anteaters do not secrete hydrochloric acid. Instead, they depend on the formic acid content of their ant-dominated diet to aid in digestion.

    The giant anteaters are becoming quite rare due to the exotic pet trade and habitat destruction. They have all but disappeared from their historic range within Central America. In South America, they are hunted for their meat and for trophies. Some are also killed because they are mistakenly blamed in the killing of cattle and dogs. Anteaters are essential in maintaining insect populations. In addition, they are food for other larger carnivores.

    Grzimek, H.C. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. Vol. 2. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. 1990. Nowak, R. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press. 5(1):522-3. Macdonald, David. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Andromeda Oxford Limited. 2001. First Day Cover Store. March, 1997. Dec. 8, 2000 Philadelphia Zoo. Dec. 8, 2000 Santa Barbara Zoo. Dec. 8, 2000 Dec. 8, 2000 Dec. 8, 2000 Dec. 8, 2000 Dec. 8, 2000

  6. Giant Anteater Facts, Pictures & In-Depth Information For ... › giant-anteater-facts

    Aug 31, 2018 · Giant anteater facts, pictures and information for kids & adults. This large, ground-based South American mammal has numerous adaptations for hunting & eating small insects. One of four anteater species alive today, this distinctive animal is Central America's most threatened mammal. It is rated Vulnerable by the IUCN.

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