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Tamandua on Exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

  • anteater on a branch

Meet Cayenne, a southern tamandua now on exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. Keepers describe the 1-year-old female as active and curious. She arrived at the National Zoo from the Denver Zoo on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Southern Tamandua Species Survival Plan. In a few weeks, she will be joined by an 8-year-old male from Discovery Cove. Zoo visitors can see Cayenne inside the Small Mammal House.

Southern tamanduas are an arboreal species of anteater native to Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil, and Paraguay. This species also inhabits parts of Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. Their habitats include forests, savannas, tropical rainforests, and mangroves. They have short, dense fur that ranges in color from tan with black markings on their shoulders and back to uniformly blonde, brown, or black. Tamanduas measure 21 to 31.5 inches in body length with a 15 to 23 inch prehensile tail that lacks fur on the underside, which allows them to better grip when climbing. They also have large, sharp claws on each of their feet (mainly for food excavation and defense) so they walk on the outside of their feet to avoid puncturing themselves with their claws.

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Caption: The Zoo's 1-year-old female tamandua named Cayenne.

Photos: Clyde Nishimura, Smithsonian's National Zoo

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