Make Way for Giant Anteater
The Santa Ana Zoo – in partnership with Friends of the Zoo, UCI Alumni Association and UCI’s class of 2007 – is raising money for Tierra de las Pampas, two acres of grassland for an honest-to-Pete giant anteater. Project supporters have raised $900,000, of the $1.2 million cost. Sponsor packages range from $25-$4,999. Click here to make a donation.
- Giant anteaters hail from the tropical forests and grasslands of Central and South America.
- Although its scientific name, Myrmecophaga tridactyla, means three-fingered ant eater, the anteater’s foot has five digits. The middle three toes on the forefeet have long claws.
- Giant anteaters walk on their knuckles to protect their claws.
- Giant anteaters can grow up to 7 feet long and weigh as much as 88 pounds.
- Anteaters use their claws to pry open anthills and tear off bark to get at their meal of choice – termites and, of course, ants.
- Sometimes called the ant bear, the giant anteater eats as many as 30,000 ants and termites in a single day.
- Giant anteaters have giant tongues (no surprise there) that can reach 2 feet in length and are covered in sticky saliva to trap ants. They can flick their tongues 150 times a minute. Zot!
- Giant anteaters have no teeth – they crush food on the roof of their mouths with their strong tongues.
- When provoked, anteaters rise up on their hind legs and attack with their claws, hence the UCI rallying cry: Rip ’em ’eaters!