Name: Giant Anteater
Left: Unknown
Habitat: From Panama to Argentina
Why Endangered: Loss of Habitat

Anteaters lack teeth and feed mostly on ants and termites. The giant anteater is the largest and best-known species of anteater. It lives in tropical forests and grassy plains from Panama to Argentina. The animal has become rare in some areas as human settlers push into its range.

The giant anteater has a tube-shaped head with a long, slender snout. Its coarse, brittle hair is mostly gray and forms a bushy mass on the tail and sides. A black band of hair bordered by white bands runs from the throat to the middle of the back. Some giant anteaters grow over 6 feet (1.8 meters) in length, including a tail measuring about 3 feet (0.9 meters) in length.

The giant anteater lives on the ground. It walks with its front feet turned on their sides to protect the claws. When feeding, the animal uses the large second and third claws of its front foot to rip open ant nests. It then flits its tongue, which is about 2 feet (60 centimeters) long, into the nest in rapid in-and-out movements to lick up the ants.

A female giant anteater gives birth to one baby each year. The newborn rides on the mother's back for up to a year.

Aardvarks, pangolins, and echidnas are also sometimes called anteaters. These animals feed on termites and ants and have other characteristics in common with anteaters, but they belong to different orders (scientific groups).

Source: World Book