Nov. 29 is World Anteater Day. Celebrate by getting to know one of the remarkable members of the anteater family: the tamandua!
1. It’s pronounced ‘tuh-man-doo-ah.’
Tamanduas, also called lesser anteaters, are smaller than their giant anteater relatives. They live in a variety of habitats – including tropical forests, scrub grasslands and wetlands – and are often found near streams and rivers. Southern tamanduas (Tamandua tetradactyla) are native to South America, ranging from Venezuela to northern Argentina, while northern tamanduas (Tamandua Mexicana) range from southern Mexico to north-western Peru.
2. Tamanduas have incredibly long, sticky tongues.
A tamandua’s sticky tongue is the perfect bug catcher. At nearly 16 inches long, it can easily scour the narrow tunnels of termite mounds and ant colonies. All anteaters, including tamanduas, belong to the suborder Vermilingua, meaning “worm-tongue.”