June 22, 2024

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

Southern Tamandua amandua tetradactyla
James Pope

This is odd behaviour for a southern tamandua anteater (tamandua tetradactyla).  They’re usually found in trees, not wandering open grassland.  In fact, tamanduas are so badly adapted for living on the ground, they have to walk on the outside of their feet to stop their claws piercing their palms.

What’s more, being nocturnal, they’re usually fast asleep during the day.

The tamandua’s mouth opens barely wider than the width of a pencil, but their tongues can be up to 40cm long – perfect for licking up ants and termites.

This fellow was ambling around in Brazil’s Pantanal – the world’s largest wetland – looking for bugs under cowpats.