Lesser anteater (Tamandua tetradactyla).—Robert C. Hermes—Annan Photo Features

Any of four species of toothless, insect-eating placental mammals. Found in tropical savannas and forests from Mexico to northern Argentina and Uruguay, anteaters have a long tail, dense fur, a long skull, and a tubular muzzle. Their mouth opening is small, and the tongue is long and wormlike. They live alone or in pairs and feed mainly on ants and termites, which they obtain by inserting their sticky tongue into a nest torn open by the long, sharp, curved claws of their forefeet. The species range in length from 15 in. (37 cm) to 6 ft (1.8 m). Once grouped together, anteaters are now considered as separate from echidnas and pangolins.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on anteater, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up anteater? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.