Crazy Alphabet Challenge (with a twist): the letter T: Tamanoir

source of the photo above:

The « tamanoir » or « fourmilier géant » is in English a Giant anteater or ant bear. This strange animal is classified in the same category or order of the Pilosa as the sloth or « paresseux » which I presented in the letter P. 

The giant anteater is an atypical land mammal. It has very small ears, a long prehensile bushy tail as long as its body and an extremely long tubular nose. The coloring of a « tamanoir » is brown grey with a large black band around its neck that finishes at the seam of its shoulders. The anterior limbs are whiter with a black band along the ankles and are equipped with sharp claws helping him to dig for and to find ants. The anteater does not have any teeth but a very long tongue of 60 cm (24 inches) and an excellent sense of smell (up to 40% stronger than humans) but has very poor eyesight. The head of the giant anteater measures 30 cm long (12 inches) and is more elongated than round. 

A « tamanoir » can measure anywhere between 183 to 217 cm (6 to 7 feet) long and can weigh between 27 to 41 kg (60 to 110 pounds) with the males the heaviest and the biggest. The giant anteater lives exclusively in South America although it has almost completely disappeared from Central America. In fact this particular animal is considered an endangered species due to destruction of its habitat, fire and hunting. There are some rare places where the anteater lives in protected areas. 

The tongue of a « tamanoir » is extremely long up to 60 cm (24 inches) as I have mentioned but measures only 45 cm  (18 inches) when deployed as it is attached to the sternum of the anteater and not to its throat. It is also covered with papillae that are curved backwards and coated with a very thick and sticky saliva secreted by large salivary glands. This tongue is the livelihood of the giant anteater, who is an insectivore, as it can dart in and out at a rate of 160 times a minute in order to take in all the insects (mostly ants and termites) who become stuck on the tongue and finally ingested by the great giant « fourmilier ». BTW the French word « fourmi » is ant in English…

Well after presenting this latest picture, that is basically all I could find on this strange looking animal. See you soon for the letter U. 


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Written by HistoryGal

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