Tamandua tetradactyla (Linnaeus, 1758), Pernambuco, Brazil. OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Collared anteater, lesser anteater; French: Tamandua-colete; German: Termieteneter; Spanish: Oso colmenero.
Total length 37-58 in (93-147 cm); weight 7-16 lb (3-7 kg); tail length 16-26 in (40-67 cm). Pale golden yellow with a black "vest" over the shoulders, chest, belly and lower back. The vest is highly variable and may cover the entire body or be totally absent. Prehensile tail, head long and curved downward, long coarse hair. Forefeet with four long, powerful curved claws. Hindfeet with five smaller claws. Tamanduas walk on the outside of the hand with the claws turned inward.
East of the Andes from Venezuela to Argentina and Uruguay.
Savanna, thorn scrub and dry forests, rainforest. BEHAVIOR
Nocturnal, crepuscular, or diurnal. Tamandúas are opportunistically terrestrial and arboreal depending on terrain and available resources. When threatened it may hiss and release a fowl odor from the anal gland. As a last resort they will defend themselves with the powerful foreclaws and often grab and hold the opponent, keeping it away from the body. Tamanduas seek shelter in hollow trees or holes in the ground.
Opportunist feeding on terrestrial as well as arboreal ants and termites. It can open arboreal nests too tough for silky anteaters. They occasionally feed on bees and honey.
May be polygynous. Mating takes place in the fall, usually a single young is born in the spring after a gestation period of 130-150 days. The offspring is carried on the back of the mother for about a year, gradually becoming self sufficient. Tamanduas commonly reproduce in captivity and have survived for more than 9 years.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Sometimes used by Amazonian Indians to rid their homes of ants and termites. ♦
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