A gentleman at lunch
Anteaters are funny looking creatures that can be found in Central and South America. They live in grasslands, mountains and tropical forests. There are four species of anteaters, some of them, like the giant anteater, are in a vulnerable state.
The anteater is distinguished by being very meticulous and orderly when it comes to eating. As you guessed it… this animal eats ants, but never destroys the hills where they live, but carefully removes the top of the anthill. Then, it inserts its long snout into the ant hills catching thousands of ants with its sticky tongue. That way, you can come back another day to eat!
- Anteaters can be as small as a squirrel (silk anteaters) or larger than a Labrador Retriever. Some are up to 2 meters long, from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail (giant anteaters).
- Anteaters are toothless creatures, that is, they do not have teeth. Their tongues are long, narrow and covered with spines. Since ants can bite, anteaters must eat them quickly to avoid being stung.
- Anteater digestion is aided by a stomach specifically designed to digest large numbers of ants and termites. They can eat up to 30,000 insects per day!
- They have very poor eyesight, but an excellent sense of smell. They can detect scent 40 times better than humans. Anteaters use their noses to find food.
- Anteaters sleep 15 hours a day, but remain alert. They have 4-inch-long claws and use them to defend themselves against jaguars and cougars.
- Gestation lasts 190 days and ends with a single offspring, which remains with the mother for 2 years. The mother carries the baby on her back for the first year.
- The four species of anteater are known as giant anteater, dwarf or pygmy anteater, Mexican tamandua anteater, and southern tamandua anteater.
- Anteaters live up to 15 years in the wild and 25 years in captivity.