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

40 - 100 lbs

Nose to Tail
5 - 7 ft

6 months


IUCN Status
giant anteater

Giant anteaters are generally solitary. 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.

Females give birth to one offspring. The young will ride on its mother's back for up to a year.

giant anteater

The giant anteater's claws are some four inches long, and the animal can fight off even a cougar or jaguar.

They use their sharp claws to tear an opening in anthills or termite mounds. They do not destroy the mound so they can return and feed again later.

giant anteater

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.