30 Fascinating Facts About the Giant Anteater That Will Amaze You

The scientific name for the Giant Anteater is Myrmecophaga Tridactyla, which translates to “ant-eating with three fingers”.

The Giant Anteater is my all-time favorite animal, and with its elongated tongue and peculiar pointy snout, it’s definitely one of the coolest mammals out there!

If you’re not familiar with this amazing creature, here are 30 interesting facts that will surely pique your interest:

Let’s begin with the most well-known fact about the Giant Anteater: its tongue. The tongue of a Giant Anteater can extend to about 2 feet (61 cm) in length, which is longer than the average house cat’s tongue (unless you happen to own a tiger).

In addition to its length, the Giant Anteater’s tongue is also equipped with tiny barbs that face backwards, allowing it to hook onto its prey. To make matters worse for its prey, the saliva of a Giant Anteater is incredibly sticky, making escape virtually impossible.

The Giant Anteater can flick its tongue in and out of its mouth up to 150 times per minute, which is more than twice a second.

Despite its name, the Giant Anteater’s primary food source is actually termites. Although they do eat ants on occasion, termites are their preferred meal.

If they happen to come across soft fruits like mangoes or papayas, they may indulge, but their main diet consists of about 35,000 ants and termites per day, which equates to roughly 1 million per month! That’s like an entire city of small insects being consumed by a single creature each month.

The Giant Anteater has no teeth, but instead has hard plates in its mouth that grind up its food into a paste that it can easily swallow.

When feeding, the Giant Anteater only stays at a nest or mound for a maximum of 2 minutes. This is because it takes around that amount of time for soldier termites to recognize that their home is under attack and to prepare for defense. Additionally, it allows the insects time to repopulate, ensuring a steady supply of food for the Giant Anteater.

The Giant Anteater walks on its knuckles, similar to a gorilla, in order to keep its claws sharp. These claws are used for both digging and defense.

Despite its impressive claws and powerful forearms, the Giant Anteater is not related to bears, but rather to sloths.

When threatened, the Giant Anteater will rear up on its hind legs and use its claws to attack. A single swipe is strong enough to take down a Jaguar or Caiman, both of which are apex predators in the Giant Anteater’s habitat.

Giant Anteaters are known for their combat ability and are considered dangerous by some governments. In 2007, a zookeeper in Argentina was attacked and killed by a Giant Anteater. These animals carry their young on their back, making themselves look bigger and deterring potential attackers. The average length of a Giant Anteater is around 6 and a half feet, with half of this length being their tail. The tail is used for warmth and camouflage. Giant Anteaters have the lowest body temperature of all mammals and can be found naturally in 14 countries. They have poor vision but a strong sense of smell. They have been around for 25 million years and have outlived some of the most terrifying prehistoric animals. Giant Anteaters, Aardvarks, and Echidna evolved independently from one another. In captivity, their diets are altered, and they regularly bathe for reasons that are not entirely clear.

The Giant Anteater is capable of swimming and has been known to swim for long distances down a river. They gallop instead of running and can reach speeds of up to 31 miles per hour (49 km per hour), which is faster than Usain Bolt’s world record. In the Inca Empire, the Shipibo people believed that the Giant Anteater possessed mystical powers and was the trickster of the jungle. Their scientific name is Myrmecophaga Tridactyla, meaning “ant eating with three fingers,” although they actually have five fingers on each paw, with four of them having claws and one small knob. Salvador Dali, a surreal artist, was once photographed walking his pet Giant Anteater in Paris.


1. What is a giant anteater?

A giant anteater is a mammal that can be found in Central and South America. It is known for its long, sticky tongue that it uses to eat ants and termites. They have a unique appearance, with a long snout and a bushy tail. They are also quite large, growing up to 7 feet long and weighing up to 140 pounds.

2. What do giant anteaters eat?

Giant anteaters primarily eat ants and termites. They use their long, sticky tongue to collect the insects from their nests and devour them. They can eat up to 30,000 insects in a single day! They are also known to occasionally eat fruit and small reptiles.

3. Are giant anteaters dangerous?

Giant anteaters are not typically dangerous to humans. They are shy animals and will usually avoid contact with people. However, if they feel threatened, they can use their powerful claws to defend themselves. It is important to give these animals their space and not approach them in the wild.

4. Where do giant anteaters live?

Giant anteaters are native to Central and South America. They can be found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, forests, and savannas. They are most commonly found in Brazil, but can also be found in other countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

5. How long do giant anteaters live?

Giant anteaters have a lifespan of about 14 years in the wild. In captivity, they can live up to 25 years. However, they are facing threats such as habitat loss and hunting, which can significantly reduce their lifespan.

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