The tube-like tongue can extend to 60 cm and is extremely quick. It can collect up to 35,000 insects per day. On average anteaters will only spend around 40 seconds feeding at a nest to avoid the chemical or biting attacks of soldier ants. This prevents the entire colony from being wiped out in one anteater attack. Anteater claws are a powerful defence, but they will usually just run off in the face of danger. They have an excellent sense of smell and poor eyesight.
Order: pilosa, family: myrmecophagidae
The largest of the four living species of anteaters.
Ant- and termite nests are dug up using their claws and the insects collected with their long, sticky tongues. Additional diet: worms, larvae and berries.
Forests, savannahs, swamps, thornbush steppes; also close to settlements
A gestation period of around 190 days ends with the birth of a single pup with very distinctive fur markings. It is carried on its mother’s back for 6–9 months.
Status according to Red List:Vulnerable (VU)