Did you know giant anteaters slurp up 35,000 ants every day? Well, they don't actually count them and stop when they reach exactly 35,000. But they do eat a LOT of ants. In fact, these bizarre mammals pretty much eat only ants (and termites). They don't even have teeth because you don't need teeth for eating ants. What you do need, though, is a really long, sticky tongue. How long? Two feet (61 cm) long. And it helps if you can flick that long tongue out 150 times per minute to gather up as many ants as you can before they escape. Oh, and big strong claws are helpful for tearing into ant mounds.
This basically explains how a mammal weighing up to 110 pounds (50 kg) can exist eating only ants and termites. They're really good at it!
Sure, giant anteaters have physical characteristics making them almost perfect for eating ants, but they also have behaviors that help them out. Anteaters rip into ant mounds with their long claws, but they don't completely destroy the mounds. If they did, they would be destroying their own food source and would die out. They only feed on each ant mound for about one minute before moving on to another mound. In this way, they can continue feeding in the same area indefinitely. They are responsibly managing the resource in a sustainable way.
Giant anteaters live in South and Central America, usually in savannas, dry forests, and grasslands, where there are plenty of ants.
- Giant anteater - DepositPhotos
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