The Southern Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla) is a medium-sized anteater, and a mammal. It is also called the Collared Anteater or the Lesser Anteater.
The Southern Tamandua has a long, slim snout (nose), and a very long rounded tongue. Its snout is long and decurved with a small opening for its tongue. It has strong, sharp claws – there are four claws on its front feet and five claws on its back feet. It tucks its claws underneath and walks on its knuckles. The underside and the tip of the its tail are hairless. It has yellowish-blond hair with black markings from its shoulder to its back and rear. The markings widen near the rear.
It measures 34-88 centimetres (13-35 inches) in length, with a tail that measures 37-67 centimetres (15-26 inches) long. Its tongue measures up to 40 centimetres (16 inches) long.
The Southern Tamandua is native to several countries in South America, such as Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. It prefers tropical forests, dry forests, and arid savannahs. It likes to be close to streams and rivers. The Northern Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana) is native to Mexico and Central America.
It is good at climbing trees, but it also spends a lot of time on the ground.
It forages on the ground for food. It has a good sense of smell and sniffs the air when looking for food. It eats ants, bees, and temites. It puts its sticky, long tongue into termite mounds. The termites stick to its tongue. It also uses its claws to tear open termite mounds.
The Southern Tamandua is mainly nocturnal, active at night.
It spends most of its time alone.
It nests in a hollow tree trunk or in empty burrows of other animals. The female Southern Tamandua is pregnant for 130-190 days, before giving birth to one young. The baby Tamandua has white to black fur. It rides on its mother’s back while she looks for food.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM