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Anteater Gifts

Anteaters are the four mammal species of the suborder Vermilingu commonly known for eating ants and termites. Together with the sloths, they compose the order Pilosa. The anteater is extensively distributed in South and Central America, frequenting low swampy savannas, along the banks of rivers, and the depths of the humid forests, but is nowhere abundant.

Overview of the Anteater

Overview of the Anteater

The Anteaterbelongs to an order of mammals (along with armadillos and sloths) with small brains and few, or no teeth. Anteaters have extra backbone joints that help strengthen their lower back and hips, which are useful for digging. While they have no teeth, anteaters do have a long, sticky tongue, which helps them catch insects, like ants and termites. The sticky tongue of an Anteateris covered in tiny backward-pointing spines and saliva, which allows the Anteaterto consume thousands of insects in a single day.

Anteaters live in Central and South America, in grassland, open woodland and tropical forests. The giant Anteateris a subspecies of Anteaterthat can grow up to 4 feet (excluding the tail) in length. The giant Anteater(and the other subspecies) feed on ants and termites, and can consume over 30,000 insects, plus their eggs and larvae, in a single day. The giant Anteaters incredible tongue (which can be nearly 2 feet long) can be flicked in and out of the Anteaters mouth up to 150 times a minute.

Anteaters use their excellent sense of smell to detect their food. When a food source is detected, the Anteateruses its claws and powerful front legs to break open the ant or termite nest. However, anteaters are careful not to completely destroy the nest, and only feed for a short time, so they can return to feed at a later time.

The jaguar and cougar are known predators of giant anteaters. The large size of giant anteaters makes them prey of only the largest predators, like jaguars and cougars. Anteaters are also killed by hunting and collisions with vehicles.

Habitat destruction is the primary threat to giant anteaters. They are listed as a vulnerable species; it is estimated that there are only 5,000 in the wild, and only 90 in zoos across the United States.

About the Author
Jacob Maddox manages content for Wildlife Animals an educational wildlife and animal website. Jacob also guest writes for Dog Pound





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