The Giant Anteater of Nicaragua

Posted by Jamie Cain on Feb 27, 2020 3:41:58 PM

The Giant Anteater is such a unique and intriguing creature, it is featured on the third coin released in the extremely popular series “Wildlife of Nicaragua” collector edition. Giant Anteater is the largest of the three remaining anteater species. Anteaters belong  to the suborder Vermilingua and together with the sloths, they are within the order Pilosa. Check out our blog on “The Three-toed Sloth”.

Wildlife of Nicaragua Photo Courtesy of Exclusive CoinsWildlife of Nicaragua - Photo Courtesy of Exclusive Coins

Giant Anteaters are approximately the size of a German Shepherd and can grow up to 7 feet long from snout to tail. Anteaters are “edentate,” which means they have no teeth. They are characterized by what they eat—ants-- and have an elongated head and specialized tongue. 

A Day in the Life

anteater-courtesy-treknatureNicaraguan Anteater - Photo from treknature.com

The wild giant anteater spends most of its day foraging for food and preying predominantly on ants and termites. Having a keen sense of smell that’s 40 times more powerful than a human’s, the anteater can easily detect an anthill or mound. Once a mound is on its radar, the anteater will tear into it with its 4 inch, sharp claws. They waste no time by moving and eating fast, since the ants do fight back with their awful stings. The giant anteater’s elongated head and snout are designed to penetrate termite mounds and anthills. An anteaters tongue can dart in and out of an anthill up to 160 times per minute, which allows them to eat up to 35,000 ants and termites in a day!

tamandua-collared-anteater-nicaOld Anteater Mail Postage Stamp from Nicaragua - Courtesy of San Diego Zoo

Fun fact: The Giant Anteater’s tongue is called an “evolutionary masterpiece”. Approximately 2 feet long and a spaghetti-like shape, the tongue has tiny, backward-curving papillae covered in thick sticky saliva that aid in feeding. 

Habitat and Family

The Giant Anteater can be found in tropical forests and grasslands in Central and South America. While they are typically solitary animals, they come together to mate and the female anteater usually gives birth to one baby, or pup, in a year. The pup is fully weaned around 9 months but will stay with its mother till it reaches the age of two.

Giant Anteater Photo Courtesy of National GeographicGiant Anteater - Photo Courtesy of National Geographic

Interested in other creatures featured on Nicaragua's coins? You can read about the Jaguar Coin, the first coin issued in this series, here

 ECI Development delivers affordable luxury residence and resort communities in Central America, providing our clients with various premier lifestyle options from the Caribbean to the Pacific. ECI delivers inspired residences for adventurous souls.

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Jamie Cain

Written by Jamie Cain

Jamie Cain is a native Texan. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, and after graduating college, she began a career in modeling. “This was an incredible experience, as I had the opportunity to work and live in many amazing countries and experience all the different cultures.” After, she started a career in real estate in Dallas. Fast forward to 2017, she had the wonderful opportunity to join ECI Development as a Property Advisor for Nicaragua and Belize. Presently, Jamie lives on the East Coast with her husband and two white cats. She enjoys yoga, blogging, photography, and cooking.

Topics: Nicaragua, Tourism in Nicaragua, Vacationing in Nicaragua, Natural Attractions in Nicaragua, Nicaraguan Culture