GIANT ANTEATER (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) - ©John White
For @sweetlittlesong who asked what my favorite animal is and why…Tough to choose, but the Great Anteater is jam-packed with awesome! And thanks for asking!!
The Giant Anteater, is the largest species of anteater. It is found in Central and South America from Honduras to northern Argentina.
The giant anteater is one of few mammals without any teeth even in a mature state. An anteater instead crushes insects using hard growths found on the inside of its mouth, and in its stomach.
They have an average body temperature of 32.7oC, which is one of the lowest of all land-living mammals. This low rate of metabolism, common in xenarthrans, means it is inactive for a mammal.
Unlike most mammals, the giant anteater’s gastric acid does not contain hydrochloric acid; rather, it uses formic acid produced by its prey.
When threatened the Giant Anteater stands up on its hind legs, using its tail to aid balance, as if to indicate how little it is impressed by its predator, and sometimes strikes extremely rapidly with its claws or “hugs” attackers much like a bear. An adult anteater is capable of fending off or even killing, big cats such as the jaguar and the cougar.
It grows to a size of up to 7 feet/2.1 m long, 3 feet of that (0.91 m) is tail. Generally it weighs from 65 to 140 pounds (29 to 64 kg).
The anteater’s tongue can reach two feet (60 cm) in length, but has a width of only 1/2 inch (12.5 mm). The anteater can cover its tongue in a sticky saliva, allowing it to trap ants, and can extend and withdraw it up to 150 times per minute.
The giant anteater is generally acknowledged to have a very keen sense of smell, used to locate ants, but is thought to have poor sight and hearing.
Females give birth standing up. The newborn anteaters immediately climbs onto her back.
Fact Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_Anteater
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