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Giant Anteater

Giant Anteater

Animal's Behavior

Giant anteaters are vulnerable to a variety of predators such as big cats and humans. In defense, anteaters will raise on their hind legs, using their substantial tail for balance. They sleep in abandoned burrows. They give birth to one single offspring at a time, with the baby spending the first part of its life on the mother’s back. Gestation period is about 190 days. They are generally considered to be solitary animals.

Eating Habits

Probably the most unusual characteristic of the anteater is its amazing tongue. Only one half inch wide, it can be as much as two feet long. Covered in sticky saliva, the tongue can snag as many as 30,000 ants and insects in a single day. Anteaters have no teeth.

Range

Grasslands, forests and rainforests

Conservation Efforts

It’s believed there are about 5,000 animals left in the wild and about 90 in zoos in the United States. Habitat destruction is a major concern.

Animal Facts

  • This animal has an unusual behavior of walking on its knuckles, protecting its strong claws.

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Quick Facts

Scientific Name

Myrmecophaga tridactyla

Classification

Animalia Chordata Mammalia Xenarthra Pilosa Vermilingua Myrmecophagidae

Place of Birth

Central and South America

Size

Up to 7 feet

Color

Dark with lighter striped markings on legs and tail

Lifespan

15 years in the wild; up to 25 years in captivity

Conservation Status

Vulnerable

Where to See

Audubon Zoo

Mailing address: Audubon Nature Institute 6500 Magazine St. New Orleans, LA 70118
800-774-7394
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