March 2005: Anteaters & Sloths

March 1, 2005

Baby anteater.Everybody is fine here. Last Saturday, we got a newcomer — an anteater again. Some nearby-Indians of the Yagua tribe killed her mother and brought the baby to us.

She weighs only 4 kgs and wants to be on top of us the whole time —normally she would be riding on her mother’s back—which isn’t so nice as she uses her very sharp claws to climb up our legs . . . but I’m sure she’ll learn soon not to use them with us anymore.

Baby anteater riding around on Gudrun.I feed her every 3-4 hours with oats and milk, but besides we take her to ant nests, so she learns to eat ants too.

Best wishes


March 3, 2005

Angelica (the three-toed sloth) is gone again — but with a purple back, so I hope nobody will see her as food, but instead bring her back to us if they see her.

A student of mine wants to leave a baby woolly monkey with us, but I can only take it if we find a place for him when he is older: Woolly monkeys don’t get on well with monkeys other than Howlers and Spider monkeys.

Love, Gudrun


Anteaters have no teeth, but their long tongues are so sufficient they lap up 35,000 ants and termites each day and eat them whole.

The anteater uses its sharp claws to tear an opening into an anthill and put its long snout and efficient tongue to work. But eats quickly, flicking its tongue up to 160 times per minute. Ants fight back with painful stings, so an anteater may spend only a minute feasting on each mound. Anteaters never destroy a nest, preferring to return and feed again in the future.

These animals find their quarry by smell because their eyesight is poor.

Our giant anteaters can reach 7 feet (2.1 meters) long from the tip of its snout to the end of its tail. Some anteaters, the tamandua and the silky anteater, ply their trade in the trees. They travel from branch to branch in search of tasty insects.

Anteaters are generally solitary animals. Females have a single offspring once a year, which can sometimes be seen riding on its mother’s back.

Anteaters are not aggressive but a threatened anteater will rear up on its hind legs, using its tail for balance, and lash out with dangerous claws. The giant anteater’s claws are some four inches (ten centimeters) long. They are able to fight off even a puma or jaguar.

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