Myrmecophagidae is a family of anteaters, the name being derived from the Ancient Greek words for 'ant' and 'eat' (Myrmeco- and phagos). Myrmecophagids are native to Central and South America, from southern Mexico to northern Argentina. There are 2 genera and 3 species in the family, consisting of the Giant Anteater, and the Tamanduas. The fossil Eurotamandua from the Messel Pit in Germany may be an early anteater, but its status is currently debated.
Myrmecophagids are medium to large animals, with distinctively elongated snouts and long, narrow tongues. They have powerful claws on their toes, enabling them to rip open termite mounds and ant nests to eat the insects inside. They have no teeth, but produce a large amount of sticky saliva to trap the insects, as well as backward-pointing spines on their tongues. Ants and termites are almost their only food in the wild, and their primary source of water, although they will sometimes also drink free-standing water, and occasionally eat fruits.
Females give birth to a single young after a gestation period of between 130 and 190 days, depending on species. The mother carries the young on her back for several months as it grows. The adults are solitary animals.
****Species: Mymecophaga tridactyla - Giant Anteater
****Species: Tamandua mexicana - Northern Tamandua
****Species: Tamandua tetradactyla - Southern Tamandua
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