Do Anteaters Eat Ants?

Do Anteaters eat Ants? Are they Dangerous to Humans? Is it Legal to keep them as Pets?
do anteaters eat ants

Anteaters are known for their elongated face which they use to gather food. The giant anteater is considered to be the biggest species of Anteater. There are also pet anteater and jellycat anteater. In this article, you will get to know do anteaters eat ants and what is the difference between aardvark and anteater.

1. What are the Features of Anteaters?

Before knowing the answer to do anteaters eat ants, let’s look at its features.

  • Anteaters are mammals that are found across Central and South America.
  • Their snouts are long but they have no teeth.
  • Their thick, prickly fur protects them from bug bites and sunburn.
  • The two front claws sometimes referred to as fingers or thumbs, distinguish them from mammals. Sometimes they use these claws to rip apart logs or termite mounds seeking food. 
  • They have a strong sense of smell which helps them locate food and identify their surroundings. They use their long tongue to consume insects which is their primary food. But do anteaters eat ants? let’s find out ahead. (Also read Why Are Cats Tongue So Rough?)

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2. Do Anteaters Eat Ants?

They usually consume insects such as ants, termites, etc. They can also consume some delicate fruits and eggs from birds. They obtain protein and other necessary elements by swallowing insects using their extended tongues. (Also read What Do Possums Eat?)

Their diet helps them survive the tropical climate of South America. Apart from ants, they also consume these animals: Crickets, Worms, Grasshoppers & Spiders.

3. Are they Dangerous to Humans?

Anteaters do not pose any threat to humans. They are quiet creatures who spend significant amounts of time either eating or sleeping. If they come across a human, they usually retreat because they lack venom or other defense mechanisms. They can attack when feeling threatened but it is very uncommon. It is mankind that is the greater threat to an anteater. (Also read Are Possums Dangerous to Humans?)

4. What is Jellycat Anteater?

Jellycat Anteater is a soft toy that has long snouts and the features are almost the same as anteaters and aardvark. These special stuffed toys are very soft that come in unique and vibrant colors and their quality and structures make them different from other toys. (Also read Can it Rain Spiders?)

Humans love keeping exotic species as a pet. An anteater can be an appropriate exotic pet if you have money, tolerance, and attitude to fulfill their needs. In the wild, there are four types of anteaters, but the southern anteater is best suited for experimental keepers. They are solitary creatures linked to sloths and the armadillo and if trained from birth can be tamed. 

They can be owned legally but local rules may vary so always check the rules of state and local authorities as in some places you may require a license to own them. Before purchasing an animal as a pet, you should consider if you have sufficient financial resources, time, and energy to properly look after it. Anteaters require a lot of attention and so are not recommended as a pet for people working full-time in the office or having young kids. (See Can Possums be Pets?)

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The Aardvark is another mammal that is mainly an insectivore. They are medium-sized, likes burrowing, and are nocturnal creatures found across Africa. They belong to the order Tubulidentata and are its only living species. Genera of Tubulidentata does have many known prehistoric species though. They belong to a group of mammals called Afrotheres which also contains elephants, sea cows, and golden moles. (Also read How Do Porcupines Attack?)

The features and the eating habits of aardvark and anteaters are quite similar. Aardvarks have a long pig-like snout, which they use to suck in food. They avoid rocky areas and cover two-thirds of the southern region of the African continent. They use their pointy claws and strong legs to dig out ants and termites from hills and other places just like anteaters. They also use their claws to form burrows where they stay and nourish their young ones. (Also read Adorable Golden Possum that Looks like Pikachu)

7. Are they Going Extinct?

  • They roam around numerous protected areas. The giant anteater remains classified as vulnerable under the IUCN red list. It is Central America’s most endangered mammal and is included in CITES Appendix II.
  • It is also in the ZSL EDGE of Existence Mammal List due to evolutionary distinctiveness.
  • Habitat loss due to fires and being hunted to be kept as pets are reducing their population.
  • In the Brazilian Cerrado biome, they are regularly killed by road accidents as traffic has disturbed their natural habitat. (Also read Why Did the Archaeopteryx Become Extinct?)
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