Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)
Giant Anteater, Roraima, Brazil, July 2001 - click for larger image Roraima, Brazil
July 2001

The Giant Anteater is found in a wide variety of habitats from wet and dry grassland to forest providing there are ants or termites available for food. It ranges from Belize to Paraguay and northern Argentina.

Giant Anteater, Roraima, Brazil, July 2001 - click for larger image It walks on its knuckles and 3 of the 5 claws on its forefeet are greatly enlarged and act as the anteater's main tools for opening up ant and termite mounds.

Their prey is extracted using its very long, sticky tongue but it only eats a few ants from each colony mainly because the soldier caste of ants or termites arrive to defend the colony and see off the anteater with bites or noxious chemicals.

They have very poor eyesight and pretty poor hearing but their sense of smell is highly developed and it is this which allows them to find their prey. It also allows them to be active during night as well as day

Anteaters give birth to a single young which travels by clinging to the fur on the back of the mother. Because the mother has neither teeth nor fingers, the youngster has to crawl onto its mother's back by itself.

There are illustrations in Eisenberg & Redford, Page 92; and in Emmons, Plate 4.

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