T a m a n d u a

This is a cat-sized anteater with short, coarse fur and a prehensile tail. It spends nearly all its time in trees. South American tamanduas usually have a uniformly honey colored coat; those from Central Americahave bold, two-toned black and tan coats.

Using its strong tail to grip the branch, the tamandua breaks into the hard-walled outer protection of ant or termite nests with its powerful fore-claws, and then catches ants and termites with its long stickytongue, licking up thousands during a meal. Although termites and ants form the bulk of its diet, it will eat other insects (e.g. bees, beetles etc.) as well.

It does not eat all kinds of ants or termites! Army ants are too aggressive, and can sting. Leaf-cutter ants are spiny, and difficult to swallow in its long, toothless mouth. Such kinds of ants are usuallyavoided.

Azteca ants are a favorite prey, but when thousands of ants start pouring from the nest and onto the anteater, biting with their tiny jaws, the anteater will usually retreat. Thus, the ant nest is rarelycompletely destroyed by the anteater.