The Giant Anteater has a head and body length of 40 to 48 inches; the tail is 26 to 36 inches; and the weight is 40 to 85 lbs. The body is narrow and the fur is gray with black and white coloring along the shoulders. The hair is coarse and thick, longest on the tail. The head is elongated and tapers to a tubular mouth. The long tongue is covered with a sticky secretion that entraps the ants which the anteater feeds on. They swim well and will readily go in water. They sleep curled up with the head between the forelegs and the tail covering the body. Their main predators, pumas and jaguars, are very careful to avoid the front claws which can kill them. Anteaters probably have weak vision, but a good sense of smell. Once a termite or ant nest is opened the anteater will eat until the stings from the insects become too frequent and painful, then move on to another nest. For this reason they are not territorial, but rather nomadic. One anteater can consume 35,000 to 50,000 insects per day.
Location: RainForest Aviary & Surrounding Exhibits