The Anteater is a part of the Vermilingua suborder, which translates to “worm tongue.” Four kinds of Anteaters are giant Anteater, silky anteater Tamandua, and the southern. Anteaters are plentiful throughout Central and South America, except for the gigantic Anteater that is classified as endangered as per the IUCN Red List. Here are some amazing Facts About Anteater below!
Anteaters are frequently confused with two other animals with long-snouted tongues, such as echidnas and aardvarks. Aardvarks can be described as tiny African mammals which belong to the Orycteropodidae family. Though they share a few physical characteristics, anteaters possess plenty of furs and have short ears, while aardvark is almost fur-free with long ears. Echidnas, commonly referred to as “spiny anteaters,” are mammals that lay eggs from Australia in Australia and New Guinea.
The following information regarding the Anteater is intended to shed the spotlight on this overlooked but fascinating creature.
Facts About Anteater
1. Anteater Tongues are Covered with Spines
Anteaters utilize their tongues as the primary method of obtaining food. Their tongues, which can be as long as 2 feet long, are covered with tiny spiny protrusions, spiny edges, and sticky saliva. The shape and shape of their tongues allow the Anteater to move them down into the tiny areas where termites and ants can burrow. Anthills and mounds made by termites cannot compete with the Anteater, who can grab its food with quick-fire movements of the tongue, consuming hundreds of calories at each time.
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2. They have claws that resemble knives.
Although they’ve got 4 feet, only their front toes have claws. While walking, anteaters bend their legs into a ball-like shape to shield the claws and avoid their dulling. Together with their cleverly-designed tongues, anteaters use their razor-sharp claws to serve many reasons. These claws can be extremely hazardous, and they’re the best protection against attacks. Large cats, such as jaguars and pumas, are their primary predators. In the event of danger, the anteaters stand on their hind feet and use the claws of their hands to cut, stab and kill. Anteaters use claws to open the nests of insects and extract the inside food.
3. Anteaters aren’t just eating ants.
An average anteater can eat up to 40,000 termites and ants during a single day. They make quick, flicking movements to scoop and suck their food. They can do up to hundreds of flicks per minute. But, they also add other food items to their diets. They have been observed to take fruits, bird eggs, and a wide variety of insects, worms, and even bees. Anteaters aren’t very drinkers and generally obtain the water they require from their food sources.
4. Anteaters Do Not Have Teeth
In terms of science, the animal with no teeth whatsoever is known as an edentate. The sloths and Armadillos are both edentates, and so are armadillos. However, this isn’t a cause for any challenges for anteaters because their claws and tongues work in scavenging in search of food. Their snouts also assist the tongue in acting as a vacuum that allows them to grasp insects and then inhale them by sucking them. In addition, because they feast on termites and ants, they don’t require teeth because there’s no food to chew on or bite into.
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5. They have the lowest body temperature of any Mammal.
In terms of land-dwelling animals, the Anteater is among those with one of the lowest temperatures for a body, around 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This is probably because their primary food source contains little or no nutritional or energy value, despite their massive consumption. But their bodies adjust to conserve energy whenever they can. Anteaters are slow to move, rest throughout the day, and use their furs and tails to retain the body’s temperature. It’s not often that you observe an anteater engaged in intense activities like running, climbing, or swimming for prolonged durations of time.
6. Female Anteaters Have Babies Standing Up
Anteaters tend to be solitary creatures. However, they can get together during mating time. Males leave their families, and females live and travel with the offspring for about two years. When it’s time to give birth, females deliver their babies in an upright position and use their tails for support. There is only one baby at a given time, and the newborns are referred to as pups. When they’re not capable of walking on their own, they are carried on their mothers’ backs. Once they’re fully grown and can live independently, wild anteaters abandon their mother and travel on their own.
7. They are a fast runner.
Most of the time, you’ll never notice an anteater doing anything other than an ebb and flow. Even those who spend most of their time on the tree’s branches won’t be seen lying around or moving at a snail’s pace. If they are terrified, they could run speedily, reaching 30 percent of a mile. If they’re cornered and cannot escape, anteaters sit on their backs and utilize their front claws to fight. They can also climb and swim easily, but this isn’t as widespread. They search for shallow, muddy water for bathing or cool from hot temperatures.
8. There are four different species of Anteaters.
In the Vermilingua suborder, you can find four different varieties of Anteaters. They include the huge Anteater, the Silky Anteater, and the southern Tamandua. They’re identical in physical appearance and behavior, with a few small variations. The Anteater is massive, and can weigh as much as 90 pounds once mature, often known as”the “ant bear” because of its appearance and size. The silky also referred to as pygmy, is smaller and has a lighter shade. It’s the least populated of the four and spends a large portion of its time in trees.
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Northern Tamnduas, who reside in the tropical regions and the tropics of Central America, have specific black coloration on their shoulders and torsos. They, as with the silky, are mainly arboreal. Southern tamanduas are found in Venezuela, Trinidad, and Uruguay. They are similar to their Northern relatives, and they live alone in forest-covered regions.