Anteaters are some of the most unique animals on Earth. They’re not only amazing because of their long snouts and tongues, but also because they eat ants.
Anteaters are edentate animals, they don’t have teeth. But their long tongues are more than sufficient to lap up the 35,000 ants and termites they swallow whole each day. As the largest of all four anteater species (the giant anteater can reach eight feet long from the tip of its snout to the end of its tail), you might think an anteater wouldn’t have much trouble getting a meal. But these creatures have only one natural predator: man.
The only other creature that poses a threat to an anteater is man himself. We hunt them for their meat and fur, and we also destroy their habitats through deforestation and development projects that push them out into areas where they aren’t safe from humans who want to kill them for food or sell them as pets.
How Anteater Eat
The anteater is the only mammal that can eat ants, and it does so by using its long sticky tongue to slurp up the insects. The anteater doesn’t have teeth, so it has to crush and grind up its food before swallowing. Ants are a great choice for this because their hard exoskeleton means they’re tough to chew up, making them ideal for the anteater’s diet.
Do anteaters eat more than just ants?
Anteaters are very picky eaters. They feed almost exclusively on ants and termites, whose nests they rip open with their powerful forelimbs and claws, and then ingest with their sticky tongue. They only consume about 140 insects from each mound during a single feeding.
In fact, anteaters have been observed consuming only one-tenth of the 50 million insects in a single ant colony. This means that each anteater can devour up to 10 million ants in one night.
Can anteaters rip through concrete?
While the claws of an anteater are long, they are not strong enough to tear through concrete. If you watch an anteater, you will see that they walk on the sides of their paws to avoid wear and tear, which makes it very difficult for them to run. They use their claws to rip open concrete-hard termite and ant mounds in order to get at the insects inside.
Can an anteater hurt you?
Anteaters are not exactly known for their aggressive nature. They have poor vision, bad hearing and no teeth. And yet, anteaters can be deadly.
In a new case report, scientists detail a gruesome anteater attack that left one hunter dead in northwestern Brazil, just two years after another man was killed in a similar confrontation with one of the long-nosed creatures.
What diseases do anteaters carry?
Anteaters are mammals that have a long snout with sticky lips, and they look like anteaters. They are found in tropical and subtropical forests in South America. Anteaters may be endangered because they are hunted for their meat and fur.
Anteaters carry several diseases, including Eimeria spp., Toxoplasma gondii, Anaplasma marginale, Leptospira interrogans, Brucella abortus, canine distemper virus infection, and zoonotic flea (Tunga penetrans).
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