Physical characteristics

All members of this group have elongated snouts and a thin tongue that is capable of extending outward to a length greater than the length of the head. They have a tubular mouth with lips but they do not have teeth. They also have large curved foreclaws that are used to tear open ant and termite mounds. The powerful foreclaws can also be used as lethal weapons for defense. All but one species has a grasping prehensile tail. The

Northern anteaters (Tamandua mexicana) live in trees. (Photo by Michael Fogden. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)
A southern tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla) with its tongue extended. (Photo by Animals Animals ©Alan G. Nelson. Reproduced by permission.)

fur is long and thick to protect them briefly from the attack of ants as well as termites.

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