Extinct Animal : Giant Anteater
The giant anteater of South America is about the size of a German shepherd dog. It is covered with stiff, straw-like hair which grows up to 40 cm long on the tail.
As the name suggests, anteaters eat ants and termites in vast quantities, sometimes up to 30,000 insects in a single day. The anteater will rip open a termite hill with its clawed hand and work its tubular snout into the opening, sticking its long, worm-shaped tongue down into the heart of the colony and trapping the insects on its tongue’s sticky coating.
The mother anteater carries her single offspring on her back for a considerable length of time, even though the baby anteater is capable of a slow gallop four weeks after birth. Docile and inoffensive by nature, the anteater’s principal enemies are the puma and the jaguar. These large predators must be careful in their attacks, however, as an embrace by the anteater’s powerful forelimbs can sometimes prove fatal. Giant anteaters are hunted in South America for their meat and for trophies. They are also killed because they are mistakenly believed to kill dogs and cattle, and, perhaps most frequently, because they are easy to kill.