Giant Anteater

Preston Heard

Classification Order


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Xenarthra

Family: Myrmecophagidae

Genus: Tamandua

Scientific Name: Myrmecophaga Tridactyla


Evolutionary Relationships

The Giant Anteater is closely related to other animals in the Order Pilosa. The only animals in the Pilosa Order are the Sloth and the Anteater.
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Habitat

Anteaters are abundant throughout the Southern Hemisphere but are also common in parts of Africa, Australia and Asia. The Giant Anteater tends to mainly inhabit grasslands, forests, jungles and even lower mountain ranges. They prefer a covered, secluded area to sleep. The Anteater population is slowly declining due to habitat loss and over-hunting by humans.

Diet

The Anteater gets its name from its steady diet of ants and termites. They are able to use their razor sharp claws to tear open the giant anthills. They find these anthills not by sight, but by smell. The Anteater will then stick its 2 foot long tongue into the anthill and let the ants climb onto it. The Anteater is forced to work quickly during this process, flicking its tongue up to 160 times per minute. They do this because the ants fight back with sharp and painful stings. The Anteater never fully destroyed an entire anthill, hoping to return to it in the near future. They also feast on termites in the decaying logs of fallen trees.
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Social Interactions

The Anteater is a typically solitary animal. The males and females rarely interact with each other if they are not mating. Females can produce 1 offspring every 9 months, although it is often much longer than that. Giant anteaters will either breed year round or seasonally depending on the region. The average time to independence for an Anteater is 24 months. When one Anteater encounters another in the wild, the usually tend to ignore each other. When hunting for food, the Anteater prefers to work alone, not wanting to share his hard-earned meal with others.

Movement

The Giant Anteater has a vast and beautiful habitat. They are constantly moving from one place to another, searching for food, shelter, and someone to mate with. As mentioned previously, they live in various habitats from grasslands and forests, to jungles and mountain ranges.

Size and weight

They weigh anywhere between 40 to 85lbs. Their typical length is between 43-45in.

Fact

The Anteater's tongue can extend more than 2 feet (60 cm) to capture prey.

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