Welcome to Tom Irvine's Anteater Page


Giant Anteater - Photo Courtesy of the University of Michigan

Giant Anteater with Baby - Photo Courtesy of Brazilian Adventure Travel

Giant Anteater at Phoenix Zoo - Photo by Tom Irvine
Giant anteater - myrmecophaga tridactyla.  Also known as the ant-bear.

Order - Edentata - comprised of mammals including tree sloths, anteaters, and armadillos. Family - Myrmecophagidae
Giant anteaters range throughout most of tropical America from northern Argentina to Guatemala and Honduras. Anteaters live in tropical savannas and forests of these regions.
The anteater has an elongated snout. The sticky substance of its tongue traps insects. It eats up to 30,000 ants, termites and other insects each day.

The claws of the anteater's front feet are hooked backward and serve the animal for ripping into ant and termite nests.

Anteaters seldom spend more than a couple of minutes feeding at any one nest. Only a few thousand insects are removed at one feeding and then the nest is abandoned to repairs. The anteaters circulate around their territories, feeding lightly here and there, never destroying any one nest and, therefore, never eliminating any of their food base. Termites and ants recover losses very rapidly.
Anteaters have a good sense of smell, but poor eyesight.

The anteater is toothless. The order name Edentata means "no teeth."
The anteater's body is from 4 to 6 feet long, with course hair and a long, wide tail. They weigh from 40 to 85 pounds.
The giant anteater walks clumsily on the soles of its back feet and on the in-turned claws of its front feet. The claws are curved inward to keep them from being dulled.
Adults are normally solitary.
The mother anteater carries her single offspring on her back for a considerable length of time, even though the baby anteater is capable of a slow gallop four weeks after birth.
The anteater can fight off a jaguar of puma with its sharp claws.
Tamandua -  Lesser anteater - tamandua tetradactyla.
The tamandua is a tree-dwelling relative of the giant anteater.
The habitat is in the Amazon basin, in the wet and dry forests northern South America.
The tamandua has short hair and is either tan and black or it is entirely black. It lives in trees where it feeds on ants and termites. The tamandua wraps its long, prehensile tail around branches to keep from falling while eating. 

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Children's Story Books Featuring Anteaters
Aunt Eater's Mystery Vacation (An I Can Read Book)
An Anteater Named Arthur
Animal Books that include Anteaters

Anteaters : Naturebooks Series

Anteaters, Sloths, and Armadillos
National Geographic Book of Mammals

National Geographic Magazine Subscription
Anteater Videos







Please send comments and questions to Tom Irvine at: tomirvine@aol.com
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