Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Silky Anteater - The Smallest Anteater

The silky anteater, sometimes known as the pygmy anteater is the smallest anteater in the world, just slightly bigger than your hand!  What does the silky anteater have in common with some monkeys?  The silky anteater has a prehensile tail, meaning they can hang onto trees by their tail, leaving their hands free to eat.  The silky anteater eats up to 5000 ants a day, so you can understand why they would need to have their hands free!
The baby anteater is adorable.  Both parents care for the baby anteater and dad will give the baby anteater piggy back rides until the baby anteater is 9 months old and able to move by itself!  The baby anteater enjoys a healthy diet of regurgitated ants that its parents bring back.  Who's hungry?
If you are looking for a silky anteater try looking in Southern Mexico, through to Bolivia and parts of Brazil but your chances of seeing a silky anteater aren't very good since they are nocturnal (active at night), although you might hear one since the silky anteater emits a shrill call when scared or threatened.  Sources:  EDGE Mammals: Silky Anteater, Silky Anteater. See a video of a silky anteater

Help Save the Silky Anteater
The population of silky anteaters is not known since they are so hard to find, but it is thought that the silky anteater has been negatively impacted by habitat destruction, primarily due to cattle, soybean plantations, agriculture and logging.

(top) Silky anteater photo courtesy of:  Fincas Las Brisas
(right) This looks like a photo of a baby anteater, but it's actually an adult female silky anteater.  Silky anteater photo courtesy of:  Sabalolodge