Animals of the world, Anteater

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  • Any of four species of toothless, insect-eating mammals found in tropical savannas and forests from southern Mexico to Paraguay and northern Argentina
  • Anteater habitats include dry tropical forests, rainforests, grasslands, and savannas
  • Anteaters are mostly solitary mammals
  • Anteaters can dig into logs and termite mounds with sharp long claws. They walk on their knuckles to protect these claws. They capture their prey by inserting their tongues into insect nests that they have torn open
  • Their tongues can extend up to two feet. Their tongues are covered with backward-facing spines and super-sticky saliva for maximum bug collection.
  • Anteaters have poor sight, but an excellent sense of smell, and most species depend on the latter for foraging, feeding, and defence.
  • Anteaters are specialized to feed on small insects, with each anteater species having its own insect preferences
  • To avoid the jaws, sting, and other defences of the invertebrates, anteaters have adopted the feeding strategy of licking up large numbers of ants and termites as quickly as possible — an anteater normally spends about a minute at a nest before moving on to another