Southern Tamandua

Tamandua Tetradactyla

Scientific Name

Southern Tamandua:  
Tamandua Tetradactyla

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

The tamandua (lesser anteater) is native to South America east of the Andes and south to southern Brazil, northern Argentina and Uruguay.

Natural Habitat

The tamandua inhabits a wide variety of habitats, from dry forest and tropical rainforest, to savannah and thorn scrub.

Physical Characteristics

  • Southern tamanduas are pale yellow and look like they are wearing a black vest around the shoulders, chest, sides, and lower back. They weigh 6.5 to 15 pounds and their bodies are 18.5 to 30 inches long, with a tail nearly as long as the body. The tamandua’s tail is prehensile, like the prehensile-tailed porcupine and the black howler monkey. A prehensile tail serves as another arm, allowing the animal to grasp branches with it. The tamandua has a long snout, though not as long as that of the giant anteater.

Quick Facts

  1. If a predator gets too close, a tamandua may hiss and then release a very unpleasant odor from a gland at the base of its tail, similar to a skunk’s.

  2. Tamanduas have four claws on their front feet and five on their rear feet.

  3. A tamandua’s tiny mouth is only as wide across as a pencil eraser!

Exhibit

M&T Bank Rainforest Falls

Conservation Status

Least Concern: The Southern Tamandua is common or abundant and is likely to survive in the wild.

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Diet

Omnivore

In the wild, tamanduas eat mostly ants and termites. In human care, they are fed a high-protein powder mixed with water, and honey and fruit as treats.