Giant Anteater

Giant Anteater

Giant Anteater
Myrmecophaga tridactyla


CLASS
Mammalia
ORDER
Pilosa
FAMILY
Myrmecophagidae

Range

Southern Belize to northern Argentina


Habitat

Grassland savannas, swamps, humid forests, and woodlands


Diet

Mainly ants, termites, and their eggs; will also eat ripe fruit

Weight

40 - 100 lbs.

Nose to Tail

5 - 7 ft

Gestation

6 months

Young

1

IUCN Status

Vulnerable

CITES

Appendix II

Facts

  • They have poor vision, but an excellent sense of smell, which is 40 times more powerful than humans.
  • Its tongue can protrude more than 2 feet to capture its prey of as many as 30,000 insects in a single day.
  • They use their sharp claws to tear an opening in anthill or termite mound. They do not destroy the mound so they can return and feed again later.
  • Giant anteaters are generally solitary.
  • Females give birth to one offspring. The young will ride on its mother's back for up to a year.
  • The giant anteater's claws are some four inches long, and the animal can fight off even a cougar or jaguar.

 

Conservation

The giant anteaters are disappearing due to the exotic pet trade, habitat destruction, and hunting for food and as pests. They have all but disappeared from their historic range within Central America.

Anteaters are essential in maintaining insect populations. In addition, they are food for other larger carnivores.

Vulnerable

Open Daily 9 am - 5 pm

Closed only Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year's Day

Address

Alexandria Zoo
3016 Masonic Drive
Alexandria, LA 71301
P: (318) 441-6810

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