What Is a Giant Anteater?
The giant anteater is an animal that feeds mostly on ants and termites. This shaggy-haired animal lives in the forests of tropical America. The anteater probably chooses ants rather than other foods because it has no teeth.
Its long, slender snout contains a sticky, worm like tongue more than a foot long. The Anteater gets its meal by ripping open ant nests with its strong claws and licking up the insects that it uncovers. It may eat thousands of ants at one meal.
It has to eat quickly, flicking its tongue up to 160 times per minute. Ants fight back with painful stings, so an anteater may spend only a minute feasting on each mound. Anteaters never destroy a nest, preferring to return and feed again in the future.
Because of its large size and shaggy coat, the giant anteater is sometimes called an “ant bear.”
There are four different species which vary greatly in size. The silky anteater is the size of a squirrel, while the giant anteater can reach 7 feet (2.1 meters) long from the tip of its snout to the end of its tail.
Some anteaters, the tamandua and the silky anteater, ply their trade in the trees. They travel from branch to branch in search of tasty insects.