Did you know . . . Anteaters prefer termites

Its food consists mainly of termites, which it obtains by opening nests with its powerful sharp front claws. As the insects swarm to the damaged part of their dwelling, it draws them into its mouth by means of its long, flexible, rapidly moving tongue covered with sticky saliva.

  • Their tongue can be flicked up to 150-160 times or more per minute.
  • Giant anteaters have a two-foot-long tongue and huge salivary glands that produce copious amounts of sticky saliva when they feed.
  • They have small spikes on their tongue that help keep the ants and other insects on the tongue while they are swept into the anteater’s mouth, where they are crushed against the hard palate.
  • What we call an anteater’s nose is actually an elongated jaw with a small, black, moist nose, like a dog’s nose
  • A full-grown giant Anteater eats upwards of 30,000 ants and termites a day and also eat ripe fruit if they find it on the ground.
  • The Giant Anteater and regular anteaters have no teeth. Their physical digestion is aided by the pebbles and debris that they consume when they ingest insects.
  • The giant Anteater lives above ground. The anteater finds a place to sleep, curls up, and covers itself with its bushy tail. 

The female produces one offspring per birth. During much of its first year of life, a young Anteater will ride on its mother’s back. It is generally acknowledged that giant Anteaters have a poor sense of sight but a keen sense of smell. Their sense of smell has been estimated to be some 40 times stronger than that of humans.