Northern Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana)
This small anteater lives in the treetops from southern Mexico to northwestern Venezuela and Peru. The opening of its mouth is about the size of a pencil, and since it has not teeth, part of its stomach is a gizzard that grinds its food. It mostly eats termites and ants, picking them up with its tongue that can stick out 30 centimeters, or about 16 inches! It has smelly anal glands, extremely strong arms, and sharp claws, all of which help it defend itself.
If it has a gizzard, does that mean it has to eat little stones to help in the grinding up process, like many birds do?
Well, Julia, I can’t find a clear answer on that. While I’m not seeing any specific references to tamanduas swallowing stones to help grind up their food, I have seen a few mentions of anteaters in general eating small rocks and dirt and such for that purpose. So I’m just not sure. Maybe one of our biologist readers knows. I did just find out that the gizzard stones are called gastroliths, which is a neat word.
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