Hi! This week I’d like to talk about anteaters! As the name implies, these large mammals subsist almost exclusively on nesting insects such as ants and termites, and have evolved several unique adaptations to get as many as they can. Anteaters such as the Giant Anteater above possess huge claws, which they use liberally to tear down huge termite mounds and anthills, as well as to dig down to find more. Inarguably the most iconic adaptation this species boasts, however, is its enormously long tongue. This tongue is used to flexibly navigate the narrow tunnels of an insect mound, sticking to and picking up dozens of bugs as it goes. Because the anteater has no teeth at all, it uses this tongue and limited jaw movement to slurp up hundreds of ants a day. These tongues are 24 inches long on average, even longer than the anteater’s skull.
See you next week for more animal facts!