Giant Anteaters

Giant anteaters like to eat ants and termites - lots of ants and termites! One giant anteater may eat 35,000 ants and termites in one day! How does an anteater find all of those insects? It uses its nose. The giant anteater has a very good sense of smell.

The giant anteater also has a special tongue that is very helpful in getting ants. The anteater's tongue is long and narrow. The tongue can be two feet long but is only a half-inch wide. The tongue is covered with sticky saliva. The giant anteater can flick its tongue in and out of an anthill as many as 150 times per minute. The anteater crushes the ants against the roof of its mouth before it swallows them. The anteater doesn't have any teeth.

The giant anteater has very sharp claws. These claws make it easy for the anteater to dig into anthills. The claws also provide defense against predators. The giant anteater protects its front claws by curling them up into its paws and walking on its knuckles. This makes the anteater seem to be shuffling as it walks.

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