My Email

Monday, December 25, 2006

Giant Anteater

The Giant Anteater is a nomadic animal, moving from one anthill to the next. An anteater will switch to another nest when the stings become too frequent and painful.
The Giant Anteater does not sleep in any fixed place, instead curling up in abandoned burrows and hollows. It covers its body with its long, bushy tail to sleep.
It bears a single offspring after a gestation period of 190 days, which will stay near the mother until she becomes pregnant again. The offspring spends much of the first part of its life riding on its mother's back, until it is nearly half her size.
In the wild, the Giant Anteater behaves nocturnally near human settlements and diurnally elsewhere. It stays mainly on dry ground but is a strong and capable swimmer.
When threatened, it stands up on its hind legs, using its tail to aid balance, and may strike extremely rapidly with its claws or "hug" attackers much like a bear. An adult anteater is capable of fending off or even killing its main predators, big cats such as jaguar and puma.

Giant anteater with offspring clinging to back.
The mating system of M. tridactyla is not known. Reproductive behavior is primarily observed in captivity. The male stands over the female who lays on her side during copulation.
Gestation is approximately 190 days, after which females give birth to a single young which weighs about 2.8 lb(1.3 kg). Females give birth standing up and immediately the young anteater climbs onto her back. Young are born with a full coat of hair and adult-like markings. Breeding occurs year-round in captivity and the wild, though seasonal breeding times have been reported in portions of their range. Inter-birth intervals can be as low as 9 months. Sexual maturity is reached between 2.5 and 4 years. The mammary glands are lateral to the 'armpits' on the chest.
Breeding interval: Giant anteaters can breed as often as every 9 months, though it is often longer.
Breeding season: Giant anteaters may breed year round, or seasonally depending on region.
Number of offspring: 1 (average)
Gestation period: 190 days (average)
Time to weaning: 6 months (average)
Time to independence: 24 months (average)
Age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2.50 to 4 years
Age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2.50 to 4 years

The giant anteater's man enemies are the jaguar and the puma.Unfortunately,it has become endangered in some areas,as humans have taken over its home.People also hunt it for its meat and kill it because they wrongly believe it kills their animals.Humans should learn to understand and protect this peaceful animal before it disapears from the earth