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An anteater is a mammal known for eating a and termites. There are four species known to be anteaters. Each species has their own English name. They live in Central and South America.
See the fact file below for more information on the anteater or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Anteater worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The anteater species belong to the suborder Vermilingua, which means worm tongue, and the order Pilosa.
- Anteaters are closely related to sloths and armadillos, more than other groups of mammals.
- There are four extant species of anteaters.
- The three genera of anteaters are the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), the silky anteater (Cyclopes didactylus), and the tamanduas.
- There are two species of tamanduas; the northern tamandua (Tamandua mexicana) and southern tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla).
- South America once had such a diverse group of mammals inhabiting the region, but that changed when animals from North America invaded the area.
- Anteaters are one of only three families from the original mammal groups in South America. The other two are sloths and armadillos.
- Anteaters may look similar to aardvarks and pangolins but they don’t share a common ancestry.
- It was convergent evolution that developed the physical features of anteaters into what they are now.
- Anteaters have long tongues, strong forearms, long tongues, and tube-like snouts by which they are able to raid ant and termite mounds.
- Aardvarks are also called anteaters at times because of the similarities in their physical characteristics.
- The pangolin sometimes goes by the name scaly anteater.
- Giant eaters and aardvarks are called antbears.
- Since anteaters mainly feed on ants and termites, their mouths are specialized to fit their needs.
- They have lips but no teeth.
- They have elongated, tube-like snouts with a tongue that can be extended longer than the length of their heads.
- They have big, curved foreclaws that they use to tear open termite and ant mounds.
- They have dense fur that protects them from insect attacks.
- All anteater species have long, prehensile tails except for giant anteaters.
- The northern and southern tamanduas are smaller than the giant anteater, while the silky anteater is about the size of a cat.
- The tamanduas are yellowish-white in color with a black lateral band covering the side of its body.
- The silky anteater is purely yellowish.
- Adult males have wider heads and are slightly bigger and more muscular than female anteaters.
- Depending on the species, anteaters live in different kinds of biomes: grasslands, rainforests, savannas, and tropical forests.
- The northern and southern tamanduas live in areas where they are able to find food on the ground and in the trees, so they inhabit dry tropical forests near small bodies of water.
- They live in Central and South American forests.
- The silky anteater, on the other hand, would rather live in mainly arboreal environments like rainforests, or the hottest regions of Central and South America.
- The terrestrial giant anteater is found in savannas.
- They inhabit the dense primeval forests of South and Central America.
- Anteaters are territorial animals and they are prepared to defend their territories.
- Their solitary habits follow their territorial nature.
- Anteaters do not enter another anteater’s territory, particularly of the same sex.
- However, male anteaters do not have a problem entering the territory of female anteaters they are associated with.
- Territorial disputes among anteaters are resolved through vocalization and sitting on, or riding, the backs of their opponents.
- Anteaters have an incredible sense of smell and good hearing, but do not have the best eyesight.
- Most anteaters depend on their sense of smell for foraging and feeding.
- Anteaters have the lowest body temperatures among mammals, which ranges from 33 to 36 degrees Celsius.
- They are able to tolerate fluctuating body temperatures.
- They heat up when they forage and cool down when they rest, so their body coordination and equilibrium is on point.
- The energy they expend for their daily activities almost matches their food intake which also makes it easy for them to maintain equilibrium and body temperature.
- Anteaters fertilize like how some lizards do: transferring sex cells through contact, but without insertion or penetration of the male sex organ into the female’s.
- Mating typically results in one offspring.
- Because of their large foreclaws, mother anteaters are unable to grasp their newborns, so instead they carry them until the newborn is physically independent.
- Anteaters feed on tiny insects.
- Different species have their own preferences.
- Giant anteaters are able to tear up nests of terrestrial insects while silky anteaters feed on arboreal insects on small branches.
- Anteaters lick up large numbers of ants and termites at a time and as quickly as possible to avoid the sting.
- The anteater’s tongue is covered with filiform papillae, which are thousands of minute hooks used with saliva to hold the insects together.
- The anteater’s stomach has tough folds and firmly contracts in order to grind and digest the insects.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the anteater across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Anteater worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about an anteater which is a mammal known for eating ants and termites. There are four species known to be anteaters. Each species has their own English name. They live in Central and South America.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Anteater Facts
- About Anteaters
- Is It An Anteater?
- Parts Description
- Habitat Match
- Same And Different
- Behavior True or False
- An Anteater’s Diet
- Types of Anteaters
- Anteater Acrostics
- Anteater Trivia
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Link will appear as Anteater Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 17, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.