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Giant Anteater

Giant Anteater

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Scientific Name:

Myrmecophaga trydactyla


Distribution

Central and South America, from Belize and southern Guatemala to northern Argentina


Diet:

Mostly insectivore, ants, termites and their eggs, larvae and sometimes ripe fruit.


Facts

Habitat: tropical moist forests, dry forests, savanna habitats and open grasslands

 

Gestation: 190 days, 1 offspring


Social structure: Mostly solitary


Weight: male up to 50kg, female up to 55kg


Dimensions: length up to 1,2m.


Estimated population in the wild: Unknown


Lifespan: in the wild: unknown, under human care: 25 years


Threats: Habitat loss, deaths caused by fires, road accidents and by dogs, hunting for their meat and skin, as pests or for illegal trade.


IUCN Status: Vulnerable


Did you know that:

1.Anteaters sleep for as much as 16 hours a day out in the open with their tail wrapped around them like a blanket.

2.Their nose houses an impressively long, sticky tongue, which can measure up to 60 cm in length.

3.It is known to be able to consume up to 30.000 ants and termites every day!

4.The mother carries the offspring on her back for approximately 6 months.

5.They sleep up to 16 hours a day with their tail wrapped around them like a blanket.

6.Due to their diet, low in nutritional value, they conserve energy by moving around slowly. They also have the lowest body temperature of any terrestrial mammal, reaching as low as 32°C.

7.The baby is carried on the mother's back, aligned with the distinctive stripe for camouflage.

8.They are protected from the bites of soldier ants and termites by their rubbery skin and very long hairs, which can measure up to 45cm in length.

9.Their tongue can be flicked in and out of the snout 160 times per minute!

10.They are almost blind but have a very keen sense of smell (40 times stronger than humans) and good sense of hearing.

11.Giant anteaters have no teeth.

12.Their up to12cm long claws are used both for digging and tearing wood away as well as for defense.

13.Tail length same as its body length.

 




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