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The Giant Anteater, Myrmecophaga tridactyla, is the largest species of anteater. It is the only species in the genus Myrmecophaga. It is found in Central and South America from Honduras to northern Argentina. Its fossil remains have been found as far north as northwestern Sonora, Mexico.

It is a solitary animal, found in many habitats, including grasslands, deciduous forests and rainforests. It feeds mainly on ants and termites, sometimes up to 30,000 insects in a single day.

The genus name Myrmecophaga is from Greek murmekos, ant, and phagein, to eat.

The giant anteater is one of few taxa of mammals without any teeth even in a mature state. An anteater instead crushes insects it consumes using hard growths found on the inside of its mouth, and its flabby stomach. Sand and small rocks have also been found in anteaters' stomachs, suggesting that these are ingested to aid

Giant Anteater
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Anteater on ant mound.

Range

Throughout south america and central america. Found in many habitats ranging from grasslands to forests.

Size

Weight: 65-140 pounds (29-64 kg).

Length :7 feet (2.1 m)

Diet

Ants, termites and soft bodied grubs.

Weapons and Traits

Large sharp claws, can fend off a jaguar.

Battle Status

On hold will compete against the Giant Armadillo.

digestion (possible gastroliths). The giant anteater is covered with stiff, straw-like hair which grows up to 40 cm long on the tail. Young have soft hair until they are mature. The dominant colouring may be grey or brown, but all have a diagonal black and white shoulder stripe.

The giant anteater is generally acknowledged to have a very keen sense of smell, used to locate ants, but is thought to have poor sight and hearing.

The giant anteater does not sleep in any fixed place, instead curling up in abandoned burrows and hollows. It covers its body with its long, bushy tail to sleep.

In the wild, it is nocturnal (or active at night) near human settlements, and diurnal (active during the day) elsewhere. It stays mainly on dry ground but is a strong and capable swimmer.

When threatened it does not flee, but stands up on its hind legs, using its tail to aid balance, as if to indicate how little it is impressed by its predator, and sometimes strikes extremely rapidly with its claws or "hugs" attackers much like a bear. An adult anteater is capable of fending off or even killing its main predators, big cats such as the jaguar and the cougar.

Giant anteaters eat ants, termites and soft-bodied grubs. Using the long, sharp claws on their forelimbs, they open insect colonies and tree trunks. They then use the tongue to collect the eggs, larvae, and adult insects. The salivary glands secrete sticky saliva during feeding that coats the tongue. They only stay at one ant colony for a short period of time to avoid soldier ants, but giant anteaters can consume a few thousand insects in minutes. The tongue is attached to the sternum and moves very quickly, flicking 150 times per minute. They will eat fruit and birds' eggs on occasion.

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