What would it be like if you were named after what you eat most of the time? What would your name be?
Would you be a pizzaeater? How about a chickennuggeteater? We’re sure there would be some peanutbutterandjellyeaters out there, too.
Anteaters — sometimes called "antbears" — are four species of mammals from the suborder Vermilingua. The four species include the Giant anteater, the Silky anteater, the Southern Tamandua and the Northern Tamandua.
When hunting for food, anteaters will use their sharp claws to tear open anthills or rotting wood that might contain ants or termites. Since their sight is poor, they use their noses to smell for food.
They then use their long snouts and tongues to scoop up as many ants and termites as possible. Since they don’t have teeth, they can’t chew the insects.
In addition to ants and termites, anteaters also eat soft-bodied grubs, soft fruits and birds’ eggs. Anteaters in zoos also eat things like fruits, hard-boiled eggs, ground beef and dog kibble.
If you have much experience with ants, you know that they can sting. Anteaters know this very well.
When ants start to fight back as an anteater is having a meal, the anteater will usually move on to a new location. Instead of destroying a nest of ants, most anteaters prefer to return to feed again in the future.
Anteaters can be found mainly in the tropical forests and grasslands of Central and South America. Giant anteaters usually sleep aboveground, while the other types of anteaters usually live in trees.
Giant anteaters move slowly with a unique shuffle. This is because they walk on their fists (with their claws curled up into their paws) to protect their claws from becoming dulled by the ground. They are also excellent swimmers since they use their long snout like a snorkel.