The Ant eater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), often reffered to in spanish as Oso hormiguero, litrally, “anteating bear”, is an animal measuring up to 2.4 meters (8 feet) in length, excluding the tail, and up to 1.2 meter (4 foot) in height at the shoulder. It has a long, thin head with a large bushy tail. Its color is gray, with a broad black band, bordered with white, starting on the chest, and passing over the shoulder. Giant Anteaters are sometimes mistaken for bears because of their claws and bushy fur. It is also a very solitary animal and very easy to observe during the Corcovado National Park Tour.
Its food mainly consists of termites, which it obtains by opening nests with its powerful sharp claws. As the insects swarm to the damaged part of their dwelling, it draws them into its mouth by means of its long, flexible, rapidly moving tongue covered with sticky saliva. Their tongue can be flicked up to 150-160 times or more per minute. A full-grown giant Anteater eats upwards of 30,000 ants and termites a day.They also have small spikes on their tongue that help keep the ants and other insects on the tongue while they get swept into the anteaters mouth.
The Ant eaters frequent the low swampy savannas, along the banks of rivers, and the depths of the humid forests in the Corcovado National Park.
The two Anteaters of the genus Tamandua, the Southern Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla) and the Northern Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana), are much smaller than the Giant Anteater, and differ essentially from it in their habits, being mainly arboreal. They inhabit the dense primeval forests of South and Central America. The usual colour is yellowish-white, with a broad black lateral band, covering nearly the whole of the side of the body.
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