Scientists estimate that there are only 5,000 individuals left in the wild. The giant anteater got its binomial name from Carl Linnaeus in 1758. The population of these species can be found throughout central and south America. [19] Gestation lasts around 190 days[37] and ends with the birth of a single pup,[22] which typically weighs around 1.4 kg (3.1 lb). One anteater was recorded sleeping with its tail stretched out on a sunny morning with an ambient temperature of 17 °C (63 °F); possibly it was positioned this way to allow its body to absorb the sun's rays for warmth. Find out Everything about this Hybrid, Differences Between Deer, Elk, Moose and Reindeer, The True Story of Hachiko - The Faithful Dog, Who Are the Christmas Reindeer? We provide salaries, training, and expertise for biologists and veterinarians working with wild giant anteaters in Brazil. This character was the inspiration for Peter the Anteater, the University of California, Irvine team mascot. [37] While mating, the female lies on her side as the male crouches over her. The giant anteater is commonly hunted in Bolivia, both for sport and sustenance. Though giant anteaters live in overlapping home ranges, they are mostly solitary except during mother-offspring relationships, aggressive interactions between males, and when mating. Habitat and Distribution. [22] It walks on its front knuckles similar to gorillas and chimpanzees. [42] They appear to be able to recognize each other's saliva by scent. They only rarely venture into the andes mountain range though. [47], Giant anteaters can mate throughout the year. [44] The front claws of the giant anteater are formidable weapons, capable of killing a jaguar. [2] It may also be extirpated in Belize, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. [24], The giant anteater has a low body temperature for a mammal, about 33 °C (91 °F), a few degrees lower than a typical mammalian temperature of 36 to 38 °C (97 to 100 °F). [37] Nocturnality in anteaters may be a response to human disturbances. In areas that experience seasonal flooding, like the grassy plains of the Venezuelan-Colombian Llanos, anteaters mainly feed on ants, because termites are less available. In addition, they are food for other larger carnivores. The head of the giant anteater, at 30 cm (12 in) long,[17] is particularly elongated, even when compared to other anteaters. [50], In the mythology and folklore of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon Basin, the giant anteater is depicted as a trickster foil to the jaguar, as well as a humorous figure due to its long snout. [2] The individual species have other names in English and other languages. Phylogenetic tree of the living Xenarthra. Central and south America 4. Dalí depicted an anteater in the style of The Great Masturbator. Since this is an animal that feeds mainly on termites and ants, it is common to find it in areas where you can find a large number of termite mounds and anthills. [17] The giant anteater's stomach, similar to a bird's gizzard, has hardened folds and uses strong contractions to grind up the insects. On colder days, they start and end periods of activity earlier, shifting them into daylight hours, and may become diurnal. [57], A large insectivorous mammal native to Central and South America, CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, International Union for Conservation of Nature, advertise their presence to other individuals, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-1.RLTS.T14224A47441961.en, "Influence of Tertiary paleoenvironnemental changes on the diversification of South American mammals: a relaxed molecular clock study within xenarthrans", "A New Fossil Anteater (Edentata, Mammalia) from Colombia, S.A. and Evolution of the Vermilingua", "Survey of the Xenarthrans inhabiting Po~ odas Antas Biological Reserve", "Contrasting coloration in terrestrial mammals", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, "Three-Dimensional CT Examination of the Mastication System in the Giant Anteater", "Anatomy description of cervical region and hyoid apparatus in living giant anteaters, "A brief note on the sleeping habits of the giant anteater –. Also they have rubbery skin, huge claws, and long hairs. [18][27][30] The hyoid apparatus is large, V-shaped and flexible and supports the tongue as it goes in and out of the mouth. Four toes on the front feet have claws, which are particularly elongated on the second and third digits. The decline mirrors that of the weakening bond between mother and offspring; young anteaters usually become independent by nine or ten months. It is typically 60 cm (24 in)[5] long and is triangular posteriorly, rounded anteriorly, and ends in a small, rounded tip. The tube-like rostrum and small mouth opening restrict the tongue to protrusion-retraction movements. [17], The giant anteater is native to Central and South America. Anteaters can adapt to different environments. In contrast, the collared anteaters have long, slender tails, which probably [19] Conversely, anteaters at Emas National Park eat mainly termites, which occur in high density on the grasslands. A stiff mane stretches along the back. Together with the family Cyclopedidae, whose only extant member is the arboreal silky anteater, the two families comprise the suborder Vermilingua. They believe women who touched anteater masks or men who stumbled while wearing them would die or receive some sort of physical disorder. Giant Anteater Facts and Information Myrmecophaga tridactyla Introduction to Giant Anteater The Giant Anteater is a very unique looking creature, and it is the largest of all Anteaters in the world. It was used as a bookplate for André Breton, who compared the temptations a man experiences in life to what "the tongue of the anteater must offer to the ant. [34] The animal is particularly vulnerable to fires due to its slow movement and flammable coat. The anteater's narrow tongue is about 2 feet (60 centimete… It is recognizable by its elongated snout, bushy tail, long fore claws, and distinctively colored pelage. [12] The species was reclassified as Myrmecophaga caroloameghinoi by S. E. Hirschfeld in 1976. It is captured to be exhibited in zoos and circuses, Its meat is consumed by the native population, It has a low reproduction rate, as females only give birth to 1 pup per year, It is very vulnerable to humans, and can be run over in roads, It is sometimes attacked by other animals. Between 2010 and 2012, two hunters were killed by giant anteaters in Brazil; in both cases, the hunters were agitating and wounding cornered animals and the attacks appeared to be defensive behaviors. Vermilingua, or anteaters, are extraordinary animals and have many special characteristics. [22] The young communicate with their mothers with sharp whistles and use their tongues during nursing. Habitat and Distribution, Where do Leopards Live? [18][27] The tongue is covered in backward-curving papillae and coated in thick, sticky saliva secreted from its enlarged salivary glands,[17] which allows the giant anteater to collect insects with it. Their native habitat is Central and South America. Anteaters communicate their presence, status, and sexual condition with secretions from their anal glands. They also advertise their presence to other individuals though tree markings and urine. It is important to mention this, because, owing to the characteristics of their preferred habitats, it is not impossible to encounter them at some point. Its ancestors may originally have been adapted to arboreal life;[10] the transition to life on the ground could have been aided by the expansion of open habitats such as savanna in South America and the availability there of colonial insects, such as termites, that provided a larger potential food source. History and Names, What Does It Mean When a Cat Shows Up at My Door, Where Do Kiwis Live? [40] Giant anteaters are primarily prey for jaguars and pumas. This is accomplished by its masticatory muscles,[26] which are relatively underdeveloped. Some very small anteaters live and feed up in trees, moving from one branch to another. [7] During most of the Cenozoic era, anteaters were confined to South America, which was formerly an island continent. You can find this kind of animals in both tropical forests and savannas, although it is also commonly found in open grasslands, marshes and forests. [36] Diurnal giant anteaters have been observed at Serra da Canastra. If you want to read similar articles to Where Do Anteaters Live?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category. [43] At Serra da Canastra, anteaters switch between eating mainly ants during the wet season (October to March) and termites during the dry season (May to September). Can you imagine eating nothing but ants all day long? The two orders of Xenarthra split 66 million years ago (Mya) during the Late Cretaceous epoch. [22], The giant anteater has broad ribs. 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