Project Description

The giant anteater

The giant anteater is in many ways a very special animal: it walks on its wrists; it has no teeth and at 32.7 degrees it has the lowest body temperature of all mammals!

The daily food of anteaters consists, as the animal’s name suggests, of ants and termites.

Ants and termites are lightning fast. That’s why anteaters need to eat quickly. To lick ants, a giant anteater’s tongue goes in and out of its mouth 150 times per minute. The skin around the snout is protected against biting ant workers and formic acid but not against the big jaws of the ant and termite soldiers. That’s why giant anteaters only eat for 1-2 minutes at every ant’s nest. As soon as the ant soldiers counterattack, the anteater quickly departs. Every day the anteater visits dozens of nests to be able to eat enough ants or termites.

Nice to know: the stomach of anteaters doesn’t secrete stomach acid to digest the food, they simply use the formic acid from their food.

(photo: Gustao Zea)