Giant anteater running on grassland

Giant anteater

Giant anteaters, as the name suggests are the largest of their family, and equipped with a sticky tongue which stretches over half a metre. They have evolved this specific appendage to feed on tiny insects. Almost blind, they rely on an excellent sense of smell to locate the ants and termites which make up their diet. Giant anteaters have no teeth, and walk on their wrists, and although this may look peculiar, it’s the perfect way to protect their delicate curly digging claws.

Did you know?
A giant anteater can flick its tongue 150 times a minute.

Scientific name: Myrmecophaga tridactyla

Rank: Species

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Map showing the distribution of the Giant anteater taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Giant anteater can be found in a number of locations including: South America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Giant anteater distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Near Threatened

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Decreasing

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Mammals
  5. Anteaters and sloths
  6. Myrmecophagidae
  7. Myrmecophaga
  8. Giant anteater

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