The giant anteater has powerful front legs and claws to rip open ant and termite mounds, along with a sticky 24 inch tongue to help slurp up all those insects. The anteater’s tongue goes in and out of its mouth about 150 times per minute. Although the anteater has strong forelegs, it does not climb trees or dig burrows. And, believe it or not—it is a good swimmer and will readily take to water.
Habitat: Savanna, grassland, swamp and humid forests of southern Belize to northern Argentina
Diet in the wild: Up to 30,000 ants or termites per day. Will also eat beetle larvae. Will eat fruit on occasion.
Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Feline diet, dog chow, banana, water—all mixed to the consistency of a milk shake
Size: 40-85 lbs
Family: Usually solitary in the wild, except for mom with young
Did you know? A giant anteater will never totally eat all the ants or termites in a mound, but will leave some for another day—a real conservationist!