Anteaters are insect-eating animals, and as their name suggests, they eat ants. In addition, they also love to eat termites. They have no teeth and use their extremely long tongue to catch ants and termites. It is said that the giant anteater has the ability to consume up to 35,000 insects in a single day. Furthermore, anteaters are also known to consume grubs.
The long tube-like nose of the anteater allows the animal to detect insects using its powerful sense of smell. On detecting the insects, the anteater flicks out its tongue, which can reach a length of around two feet. The animal can flick its tongue 160 times in one minute. This fast movement of the tongue prevents the anteater from getting stung by the ants as it can swallow the insects before they sting. (See Reference 1)
Anteaters do not have the habit of destroying anthills and termite mounds. Instead, they leave them undamaged, so that they can return to them to eat more ants and termites. (See Reference 1) Generally, they make use of their sharp front claws to make an opening in the anthills or termite mounds and then keep flicking their tongue through this opening to catch the insects. (See Reference 2) While anteaters are generally terrestrial animals, the smaller species, like the silky anteater, are known to climb branches of trees to find insects.
These animals are not known to be aggressive, but when cornered, an anteater will rear up on its hind legs and use its tail to balance its body. It then takes a swipe with its sharp long claws. These massive claws of the anteater can measure up to 4 inches in length. (See Reference 2)
More Articles :
2. National Geographic: Giant Anteater