Amber, our Lesser Anteater

DESCRIPTION

The southern tamandua* is a medium-sized anteater, though can vary considerably in size based on environmental conditions.

It has a head and body length ranging from 34 to 88 cm (13 to 35 in), and a prehensile tail 37 to 67 cm (15 to 26 in) long. Adults weigh from 1.5 to 8.4 kg (3.3 to 19 lb); there is no significant difference in size between males and females.

They have four clawed digits on the forefeet and five on the hindfeet, and walk on the outer surface of their forefeet, to avoid puncturing their palms with their sharp claws. The underside and the tip of the tail are hairless.

The snout is long and decurved with an opening only as wide as the diameter of a stick, from which the tongue is protruded.

* Also known as the Collared Anteater or the Lesser Anteate.

HABITAT

The southern tamandua is found in South America from Venezuela and Trinidad to northern Argentina, southern Brazil, and Uruguay at elevations to 1,600 meters (5,200 ft).

It inhabits both wet and dry forests, including tropical rainforest, savanna, and thorn scrub. It seems to be most common in habitats near streams and rivers, especially those thick with vines and epiphytes.

DIET

Southern tamanduas eat ants and termites in roughly equal proportions, although they may also eat a small quantity of fruit.

They locate their food by scent, and prey on a wide range of species, including army ants, carpenter ants, and Nasutitermes.

They avoid eating ants that are armed with strong chemical defenses, such as leaf-eating ants[citation needed]. Tamanduas also eat honey and bees and, in captivity, have been known to eat fruit and meat as well.

Anteaters extract their prey by using their extremely strong forelimbs to rip open nests and their elongated snouts and rounded tongues (up to 40 centimetres (16 in) in length) to lick up the insects.

WHERE DO THEY LIVE?

CONSERVATION STATUS

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