Anteaters are edentate animals—they have no teeth. But their long tongues are more than sufficient to lap up the 35,000 ants and termites they swallow whole each day. The giant anteater can reach 7 feet long from the tip of its snout to the end of its tail.
The anteater uses its sharp claws to tear an opening into an anthill and put its long snout and efficient tongue to work. But it has to eat quickly, flicking its tongue up to 160 times per minute. Ants fight back with painful stings, so an anteater may spend only a minute feasting on each mound. Anteaters never destroy a nest, preferring to return and feed again in the future.
Common Name: Giant Anteater
Scientific Name: Myrmecophaga tridactyla
Average life span in the wild: 14 years
Size: Head and body, 6 to 49 in; tail, 7 to 35 in
Weight: 40 to 140 lbs
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