Distribution and Habitat
The tamandua (lesser anteater) is native to South America east of the Andes and south to southern Brazil, northern Argentina and Uruguay.
The tamandua inhabits a wide variety of habitats, from dry forest and tropical rainforest, to savannah and thorn scrub.
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.
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.
Tamanduas have four claws on their front feet and five on their rear feet.
A tamandua’s tiny mouth is only as wide across as a pencil eraser!