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Giant Anteater
Mymecophaga tridactyla
Anteaters are edentate animals, meaning 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 anteater uses its sharp claws to tear open anthills and then puts its long snout and efficient tongue to work. But it has to eat quickly, flicking its tongue up to 160 times per minute as ants fight back with painful stings. Anteaters never destroy a nest, preferring to return and feed again in the future.

The solitary giant anteater can reach 7 feet (2.1 meters) long from the tip of its snout to the end of its tail. Females have a single offspring once a year, which can sometimes be seen riding on its mother’s back. Anteaters are not aggressive but they can be fierce: a cornered anteater will rear up on its hind legs, using its tail for balance, and lash out with its four inch (ten centimeters) claws, able to fight off even a puma or jaguar.

Best Viewing Opportunities: Dadanawa Ranch, Karanambu, the Rupununi savannahs near Annai (Rock View Lodge).