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Giant Anteater: Slurp, Slurp, Slurp Those Ants printer.gif

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The giant anteater is one of the biggest animals the Trans-Amazon Expedition Team might encounter. There are three species of anteaters that live in the South American Amazon rainforest: the giant anteater, the silky anteater, and the tamandua. The giant anteater is the only species that spends its whole life on the forest floor. That's probably because it's so big that climbing up trees would be nearly impossible for the giant anteater.

A giant anteater can grow to lengths of 6 and 1/2 feet. That's taller than most adult humans. The giant anteater is well-suited for life in the Amazon. Its thick, straw-like hair keeps it warm, even when wet. That's is a good thing, because giant anteaters need to eat thousands and thousands of ants, termites, and other insects each day just to get enough energy to keep their bodies warm.

An anteater's mouth is very small, barely big enough to pass a pencil, but the tongue is very long and can protrude out of its mouth up to two feet. In fact, the giant anteater has the longest tongue of any mammal in relation to its body size. The tongue is heavily coated with thick, sticky saliva perfect for gobbling up ants and termites.

When we find ant hills and colonies, giant anteaters are sure to know about them too. We'll keep our eyes peeled and ears tuned for evidence of this gentle giant.

For further exploration, check out these web sites.

Wilderness Classroom's Rainforest Library: Anteatershttp://www.wildernessclassroom.com/students/archives/2006/03/giant_anteater.html

National Geographic Animal Pictures and Facts

San Diego Zoo's Animal Bytes: Giant Anteater

The Wonder Club: Anteaters

To hear a Giant Anteater, Click Here

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