Who is it?
A cousin of the armadillo and the sloth, the giant anteater is one of the oldest mammals on the planet. And also one the strangest: its peculiar elongated head, finishing in a tiny mouth, gives it a very recognisable appearance.
It has a long toothless snout, small ears and dense fur, it is native to Central and South America (though it is locally extinct in some Central American countries). Its natural habitat is varied: it has lived in moist and dry forests, swampy areas, savannahs and grasslands.
What are its habits?
It consumes thousands of ants each day. In fact, ants, along with termites, are what determine the territory in which they live. Having said that, they are selective: of the hundreds of existing species, they only choose four or five species of ant. Since they have a strong sense of smell, they are capable of easily locating their favourite prey, which they reach by digging into the ground which their powerful claws.
The giant anteater’s reproduction is not seasonal. Gestation occurs over 190 days, after which one pup is born. Shortly after birth, it grips its mother’s fur with its claws to climb on her back, where it remains for a year. After this time, it separates from her to begin to explore its environment alone.
Giant anteaters do not seem to have any contact with one another: they normally spend their time covering vast expanse to feed, and only interact with each other to breed
Did you know…
In captivity the giant anteater easily cohabits and even forgets to search for food, which increases its sociability with other individuals.