Name: the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) – also known as the ant bear – is a large mammal native to Central and South America.
Appearance: giant anteaters are easily recognisable by their long snouts, bushy tails, and sharp curved claws. They also have a distinctive brown coat with a black stripe running across it.
Size: giant anteaters measure around 1.8 to 2.2 metres long and weigh between 27 and 41 kg.
Diet: they feeds on ants and termites using their sharp claws to tear into nests and their long, sticky tongues to pull them out.
Did you know: in Amazon mythology the giant anteater is depicted as a trickster due to its long snout. In one tale, an anteater challenged a jaguar to a breath-holding contest under water. After they both removed their pelts and submerged, the anteater jumped out of the water and stole the jaguar’s pelt. During the Spanish colonisation of the Americas, the giant anteater was one of many native fauna taken back to Europe for display. At first, Europeans believed all anteaters were female and mated with their noses! In the 20th century, myths about anteaters still survived with Salvador Dali writing that the anteater “reaches sizes bigger than the horse, possesses enormous ferocity, has exceptional muscle power, is a terrifying animal”.
Location: they can be found in grasslands and rainforests throughout Central and South America.
Where to see giant anteaters
According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see giant anteaters in the following places:
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Photo credit: TheOtherKev under a Creative Commons license from Pixabay