The southern tamandua, a menace to ants and termites of South America, is a creature of both land and trees. Tamandua is a solitary animal, found mostly in arid savannas and secondary forests. This mammal is also popular as collared anteater or lesser anteater.
Species: T. tetradactyla
The tamandua or collared anteater is a medium-sized mammal but can vary in size based on environmental condition. The mammal has a body and the head length ranging from 34 – 88cm. Adults weigh 1.5-8.4 kg.
There is no such difference in size between male and female tamandua. They have four clawed digits on the forefeet and five on the hind feet. Their snout is long and decurved with an opening. Their long ears make them look different from northern tamandua. They have short dense fur. The color varies depending on their location.
Tamanduas inhabit both wet and dry forests, including savannah, tropical rainforest, and thorn scrub. They are commonly found near rivers and streams. They prefer spending much of their time in trees.
The southern tamanduas are found in South America, northern Argentina, southern Brazil, and Uruguay. This species also inhabits parts of Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Columbia, and Bolivia.
Southern tamanduas are fond of ants and termites. They also eat fruits. Tamanduas locate food by scent. They prey on various species like army ants, Nasutertimes, and carpenter ants. They don’t eat ants armed with chemical defences like leafcutter ants. Tamanduas are also seen eating honey and bees. When in captive, they eat fruit and meal as well.
Tamanduas are toothless species but have a muscular gizzard in the stomach that helps digest their food.
Let’s find out their behavioural traits;
Not much is known about their reproduction phase. As per research, baby tamanduas are born between the month of March and May. Females are capable of breeding throughout the year. This habit of theirs makes them characteristically polyestrous. Mating happens during the fall months.
The maximum captive lifespan of tamandua is 9 years.
The common predators of southern tamandua include jaguar, puma, margay, and cougar. When threatened, they use their claws to make a rapid hook like in an attempt to run away from the predators. They are also found gripping tree branches with their tail for self-defence.
The species is listed in the least concern category on the IUCN’s Red list of threatened species.
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