The Southern tamandua, also known as the “lesser anteater” is a species of anteater found in South America. Why the nickname “lesser”? Well, because our friend is smaller than its close relative, the giant anteater. But, did you know this cute and odd animal smells even four times worse than a skunk? No wonder it’s called “the stinker of the forest”, right?
Where can we find the Southern tamandua?
Widely distributed, our smelly friend is native to South America. More precisely, it occurs from Venezuela and Trinidad to northern Argentina, southern Brazil, and Uruguay. Therefore, the preferred habitat includes both wet and dry forests. That been said, this tamandua feels the best in tropical rainforest, savanna, and thorn scrub. Finally, this mammal is most often spotted in areas near streams and rivers.
How does the Southern tamandua look?
For starters, very odd! Still, like a typical anteater, the tamandua has a long snout with an opening only as wide as the diameter of a stick. Moreover, it has four clawed digits on the forefeet and five on the hind feet. However, its claws are so sharp, that our friend has to walk on the outside edges of its forelegs in order to keep them safe from stabbing with its own claws! Finally, as a medium-sized anteater, it can grow up to 35 inches and weigh between 3,3 and 18,5 pounds.
Naturally, as an insectivore, our friend’s diet mainly consists of ant and termites. However, it sure does know what is delicious, since it supplements its diet with honey and bees. Yet, some individuals in captivity may consume fruit and even meat. Finally, since we all know ants and termites can be very aggressive when attacked, our friend is covered here, too. Thus, the curly hair protects the tamandua from angry ants, trying to reach its skin.
Southern tamanduas can be both polygynous or promiscuous. Thus, breeding takes place in the autumn. However, females usually breed more than once during each season. Therefore, after a gestation of 130 to 150 days, the mother gives birth to a single pup, or on rare occasions, twins. Naturally, during the first month, the baby will cling on the mother’s back. As time goes by, the baby will learn to hunt and live by itself, and after a year is ready to leave.
Did you know the stomach of Southern tamandua can hold up to one pound of ants?
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