Giant Anteater: habitat, interesting facts, photos


You can find out where the anteater lives by reading this article. It should immediately be noted that in the world there is a wide variety of these animals. From dwarf anteaters, whose weight is less than half a kilogram, and body length of only 15 centimeters, to a giant anteater. This grows more than a meter in length, and weighs about three tens of kilograms.

Traditionally, like in most mammals, males are noticeably larger than females. Their main distinguishing feature is the long and tubular muzzle, which ends in a small oral slit, very narrow. At the same time, the ears are quite small, and the eyes are just tiny.

The tail of different anteaters is different. For example, the dwarf anteater or tamandois have a bare tail with a grasp reflex. Also anteaters are distinguished by a wormlike tongue. It is long enough, for them it is a kind of organ trap. Anteater wets it with sticky saliva. A giant anteater can have such a tongue up to 60 centimeters in length. According to this indicator, they are the leaders among all the land animals on the planet.

The body of this animal, as a rule, is covered with thick hair. The hairs are soft and short for small individuals coarse and long for large members of this family. Color is the most contrast. It may be gray or golden brown. For most four-toed anteaters, dark stripes are characteristic, or a large black spot across the entire body.

Only at first glance, their skull looks fragile, in reality, the bones are very strong and thick. Anteaters are very similar to armadillos and sloths. The principal difference is that they have completely no teeth.

Distribution area

Representatives of this family flooded several continents at once. Where the anteater dwells, it is mostly warm and humid. This is often a rainforest zone. This is the way to answer the question of where the anteater lives, in what natural zone?

You can meet these amazing and cute animals all the way from Mexico to Central America. And also in Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay. Where the anteater lives, in what zone, you will learn from this article. To be precise, it is tropical rain forests, as well as grassy savanna.

Most often, figuring out where the anteater lives, which photos are in this article, researchers note that these are forests in the tropics. But you can often meet him in open spaces. For example, on the banks of rivers in the savannas.

Now you know where the anteater lives, on which continent. Animals lead a terrestrial lifestyle, though, basically, it refers to a giant anteater. Woody lifestyle in dwarf anteaters. But one of the most common types of four-fingered anteaters leads a combined life - both in trees and on the ground.

The period of their activity falls on the dark. It begins as twilight descends to the earth, and continues throughout the night. The diet of the anteater can not be called very diverse. Mostly, these are termites or ants. The heroes of our article destroy their buildings with their powerful front paws. After that, begin to collect insects with a long and sticky tongue.

Occasionally eat bees or beetle larvae. Anteaters, which are kept in the zoo, allow themselves a more varied menu. For example, eat fruit. Recall that they do not have teeth, so one of the sections of the stomach is equipped with powerful muscles to grind all the food entering the body. A similar structure of the internal organs is observed in birds. So they manage to grind food. This process is strengthened by small pebbles or sand, which anteaters often swallow by chance.

Sense organs

Anteaters have a wonderful sense of smell. At the same time, vision and hearing are very weak. They are protected from predators by powerful claws. At the same time, they predominantly lead a single life In the pair you can only meet females with calves. Anteaters breed once a year. A female gives birth to one child who lives on her back for the entire period of infancy.

It is interesting that on Earth anteaters appeared quite a long time ago. Their fossil remains are found most often in South America. Around the period of the early Miocene, which began 23 million years ago. Most scientists are convinced that anteaters are even older. True, their numbers have recently decreased markedly. But they are not included in almost any Red Books.

Four-fingered anteater

In order to get closer acquainted with these animals, we will focus on one of the most common representatives - the four-footed anteater. This is a funny and very attractive animal.

The body of this particular anteater is between 55 and 90 centimeters long. And that's not counting the tail, which reaches up to half a meter in length. The total body weight of individuals reaches five kilograms.

This species of anteater is also called Mexican tamandua, from the name it becomes clear where the anteater lives. He has a curved and elongated muzzle, his mouth is quite small in diameter. It is sufficient only for the passage of the language, the length of which with such parameters of the body is really impressive. Language tamandua about 40 centimeters.

Like all four-fingered anteaters, tamandua has a tenacious tail, some representatives have it completely naked, others have only naked bottom. He himself is irregular in shape, covered with marks of different sizes. Tamandua’s eyes are very weak, they see extremely badly. At the same time, large ears, which almost always stand upright, indicate that this organ plays a large role in their life. They receive most of the information about the world through hearing. On their front paws, they can see four toes with claws on each, and on the back paws five claws.

The fur of this anteater is thick and stiff, often very bristling. To protect against predators and other ill-wishers, Mexican tamandua can emit a strong unpleasant smell with their anal glands. This happens when they sense imminent danger. For this feature, they were even called forest stinkers.

Where dwells Tamandois Anteater?

Specifically, this anteater lives in the forests of the South American continent. It can be found from Trinidad to Venezuela itself. He lives in northern Argentina, Uruguay, in southern Brazil. Specifically, the Mexican tamandua are found in Central America. They can be found and photographed even in the south-east of Mexico. The natural area inhabited by anteaters is tropics and savannas.

Most often, they choose forest edges, and at a rather small height - up to two thousand meters above sea level. They love to live near small ponds, as well as near trees - epiphytes and lianas.


Like the rest of the anteaters, the four-fingered ones stay awake at night. In the daytime they are in hollows or holes. But the Mexican tamandua can be found day and night. They are able to stay awake for up to eight hours a day.

Often they eat without even going down from the trees. Walking on the ground a little, slowly and awkwardly. In this they are very different from the giant anteaters, which are capable of developing a very high speed.

An interesting way to move them. In order not to injure sensitive feet when walking, they move on the outer edges of the feet. And clawed front paws are used for self-defense. If it fell to the enemy to fight on a tree, they firmly clasp the branch with both paws. When they are on the ground, leaning against some kind of support. For example, to a tree trunk or rock. They also have a very funny defensive tactic - to fall on your back and fight with all four legs. Their main detractors are big snakes, eagles and jaguars.

How long do anteaters live?

Scientists managed to fix the maximum life of anteaters nine and a half years. Females become sexually mature individuals by the end of the first year of life. Pregnancy lasts from four and a half to five months. The only baby is born in spring.

Anteaters feed on termites and ants. They find them by smell. At the same time, those species that emit caustic and dangerous chemicals are determined in advance and are not eaten. They love bees and honey. In captivity, they even agree on meat.

Giant Anteater: photos, description

As mentioned earlier, the appearance of the three-toed representative of the fauna is very unusual. The giant anteater is the largest predator of South America. The length of its body reaches 1.30 m with a weight of 40 kg. A meter long fluffy tail is added to the length. Limbs do not allow the predator to move quickly, but they are armed with powerful claws (1-7 cm).

The size of the head is small, but the muzzle is extremely elongated (25-30% of body length) and narrow. The beast almost can not open the mouth due to the fact that the jaws have grown together. At the end of the muzzle-pipe are nostrils and a tiny mouth. Anteater has no teeth. The tongue 55-60 cm long has the most powerful musculature.

The three-toed handsome hair is thick, tough and extremely elastic. The muzzle is practically hairless, towards the body it becomes longer, turning into a voluminous mane located along the ridge. There are the same lush frills on the legs.

The tail is the pride of the anteater! It is covered with long hair (60 cm). This beauty hangs down to the ground. With such a tail, an animal can easily hide like a warm blanket. Most often, the color of the giant anteater hair is silver, with a gray tint, sometimes the color of cocoa is found. Through the entire body diagonally, from the chest to the sacrum, there is a wide black stripe. The lower part of the tail, underbelly and head has a black-brown color.

What eats anteater?

Giant anteater mainly feeds on ants, it is immediately clear from the name of the animal. The menu of amazing predator includes caterpillars, termites, millipedes, woodlice, insect larvae. If the favorite food could not be obtained, the animal will eat berries with pleasure.

It is very funny to watch the anteater eat at the ant heap. First, with its claws he makes a hole in the house of insects. Then she slips a thin, long sticky tongue into her. The beast penetrates them into all the nooks of an anthill, where hundreds of insects stick to the tongue. Interestingly, in captivity, these animals easily adapt to more diverse foods. They eat with appetite fruit, meat, boiled eggs and even milk. Only before feeding, food should be minced, and meat should be ground for mincing, as the anteater has a very small mouth. Large pieces, he just does not push into it.

Mating season

Giant anteater refers to beasts that wander one by one. Couples, of course, meet, but not the male with the female, but the mother, who breeds her cub. Only when the mating season comes, what happens annually in spring and autumn, do anteaters meet to conceive offspring.

Having fulfilled his duty, having fertilized a female, the male proudly retires, returning to his lonely life of an eternal wanderer. The female will have to bear the cub for about six months and then take care of it.

Care of offspring

Anteaters reproduce very slowly, because in one litter there is only one small cub. He is born covered with hair, the weight of a newborn baby is about 1.4–1.8 kg. The maternal instinct of the female is extremely strong: she devotes her whole life to posterity. Not having time to raise one cub, the female is already caring for another.

When the baby anteater is born, it almost immediately settles on the back of the mother. From this point on, the cub travels with her in this way. When you look at this small family, you do not even notice at once that a cub has settled on the back of the female, so his fur merges with the mother's fur. At the age of one month, a small furry predator is able to move independently. On the back of his mother, he no longer rolls, but walks behind her literally on his heels. This continues until the young anteater is two years old. Only at this age, the animal becomes independent and can do without the care of the mother.

Giant Anteater: Interesting Facts

Specialists who study the world of anteaters have learned many interesting facts about these animals:

• Predator language works with unique rapidity. For a minute, the giant anteater ejects and retracts it about 150-160 times.
• The length of the tongue is about 60 cm, which has no analogues among the terrestrial inhabitants.
• During the day, the anteater is able to eat about 30,000 insects.
• The muscles that control the tongue are attached to the sternum.
• The anteater's teeth are in its stomach, which is extremely muscular. On its walls is a solid keratinized pavement.
• Insects enter the stomach of an animal alive, and keratinous thorns in the sky and creases on the cheeks prevent them from getting back.

Anteater and man

The natives of South America at all times hunted giant anteaters for meat. But the number of these animals inexorably reduced not only for this reason. The fact is that they depend on the specific sources of their usual food. Natural habitats were destroyed, and as a result of such human activity, the species of these amazing predators was on the verge of extinction. Meeting the giant anteater in the wild is becoming increasingly difficult. It is sad to note the fact that their number in zoos is also insignificant, despite the fact that in captivity these predators are perfectly acclimatized. Only by creating favorable conditions for the survival of anteaters will people be able to help such unusual creatures of nature restore their numbers again and they will not be threatened with extinction.

Anteater - description, structure. What does an anteater look like?

The size of the anteaters varies depending on the species, so the largest giant anteater reaches two meters in length, and what's interesting is that half of its size falls on the tail. Its weight is about 30-35 kg.

The smallest dwarf anteater is only 16-20 cm long and weighs no more than 400 grams.

The head of the anteater is small, but strongly elongated, and its length can be 30% of the length of its body. The jaws of the anteater almost fused together, so that it is impossible for him to open his mouth wide, however, he doesn’t need to do that either. Like having teeth. Yes, anteaters have no teeth at all from the word, but the lack of teeth is more than compensated for by the long and muscular tongue of the anteater, which stretches along the entire length of their muzzle and is a real pride of this animal. The length of the giant anteater tongue reaches 60 cm, it is the longest language among all living creatures that live on Earth.

The eyes and ears of anteaters are not large, but the paws are strong, muscular, and besides they are armed with long and curved claws. These very claws are the only detail of their appearance that reminds them of their relationship with sloths and armadillos. Anteaters also have a well-developed charm and can smell potential prey by smell.

Also anteaters are owners of pretty long and, moreover, muscular tails, which have useful applications - with their help anteaters can move through the trees.

The hair of the giant anteater is long, especially on the tail, which makes it look like a broom. Other species of anteaters, on the contrary, have short and tough wool.

Where anteater lives

Like other of their half-toothed relatives, anteaters live exclusively in Central and South America, especially many of them live in Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil. The northern limit of their habitat is in Mexico. Anteaters are heat-loving animals and live respectively exclusively in places with a warm climate. They love to settle in forests (all anteaters, with the exception of the giant, easily climb trees) and grassy plains, where many insects live - their potential food.

Enemies of anteaters

However, the anteaters themselves, in turn, can also become prey for other dangerous predators, especially jaguars, panthers and large boas. True, to protect against the latter, anteaters have a substantial argument - muscular legs with claws. In case of danger, the anteater falls on its back and starts swinging in all directions with all its four paws. No matter how ridiculous and clumsy a similar sight would look, in such a position an anteater can inflict serious wounds on its potential abuser.

Pygmy anteater

Conversely, the smallest anteater, living in the rainforests of South America. Dwarf anteater knows how to climb trees, moreover, trees for him are a safe haven from predators. Like other anteaters, it feeds on small insects, ants, termites, and is nocturnal.

Anteater Tamandois

He is a four-fingered anteater, lives in Central America, and especially many of them are found in southern Mexico. It is relatively small in size, it is more than a dwarf anteater, but much smaller than a giant, its body length is up to 88 cm, its weight is 4-5 kg. Также как и его карликовый сородич, тамандуа прекрасно лазит по деревьям, согласно наблюдением венесуэльских зоологов, на деревьях проводит от 13 до 64% своей жизни. Имеет слабое зрение, зато отличное обаяние, по нюху находит свою любимую добычу, муравьев и термитов.

Интересный факт: индейцы Амазонки давно приручили муравьедов тамандуа, которых издревле используют для борьбы с муравьями и термитами в своих домах.

How anteaters breed

Anteaters mate twice a year: in spring and autumn. Pregnancy lasts from three months to six months, depending on the species, after which a completely naked little anteater is born, which, however, is already able to climb back on its mother.

Interesting fact: dad anteaters also take an active part in raising their babies, carrying their backs along with their mother.

Up to a month of life, small anteaters move exclusively on the backs of their parents and only then begin to take their first independent steps.

Feeding the anteater calves for us may not seem like a completely biased spectacle, mom and dad anteaters regurgitate a special mass of semi-digested insects, which serves as food for growing young anteaters.

Interesting facts about anteaters

  • A common voracious anteater can eat up to 30 thousand ants or termites per day.
  • Anteaters are not herd animals, prefer to lead a solitary life, the maximum family. However, being in captivity can play well with each other.
  • The nature of the anteaters is peace-loving, through which they are perfectly amenable to domestication, can perfectly get on with more familiar pets: cats and dogs, and even love to play with children. The truth is to keep an anteater at home is not so easy, because they absolutely can not stand the cold, the favorable temperature for them should not be below 24-26 C.
  • Anteaters, among other things, are good swimmers, they can easily swim in tropical reservoirs.

Where do anteaters live?

The habitat of these mammals are both American continent, anteaters inhabit Paraguay, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay and some other countries.

A pair of giant anteaters surveys the territory in search of food.

These representatives of the group of incomplete-toothed settle in grassy plains (called pampas, in which, by the way, there lives a giant anteater), as well as light forest (this applies to other species of anteaters, whose life is inseparably connected with climbing trees).

The greatest activity in these mammals is manifested in the dark. Anteaters rest in the daytime, they can quite easily allow themselves to lie down in the middle of an open area, curled up, because there is practically no one to be afraid of them.

A female giant anteater with a cub on its back.

In the way of life, anteaters are lonely, they do not just not like to live in pairs or groups, but even try to avoid meeting with their own kind.

Listen to the voice of the anteater

The only food for anteaters are insects. The main food of these animals is ants and termites. Due to the complete absence of teeth, only small insects are suitable for eating anteaters, so the choice of ants and termites was not accidental.

A servant of the zoo feeds termites to the anteater from a special container.

An unusual fact about the food of the anteater: when you get to the termitary, the animal claws the structure apart, and then with incredible speed of movement of the tongue (160 times per minute) quickly gathers insects into its mouth.

Pygmy anteater.

Anteaters mate twice a year. The duration of the pregnancy depends on the species of the anteater: the female of the giant anteater bears posterity for 180 days, and the dwarf anteaters are born 3 to 4 months after mating.

The life expectancy of all anteaters, except tamandois, is, on average, 15 years. As for tamandois, representatives of this species live to a maximum of 9 years of age.


Large predatory birds (eagles), boas, and also jaguars are considered enemies of anteaters in nature. But against all these hunters the anteater has a formidable weapon - its claws. Even if a predator dares to attack an anteater, it can get deep and painful wounds.