T.tetradactyla's nose is elongated (although much less
so than the Giant Anteater's) and its eyes and mouth are small.
The coat is bristly and brownish yellow in color, with black,
red, and brown markings. The tail is partly prehensile and covered
with hair for a third of its length. The end of the tail is
completely hairless and covered with scales. The legs are strongly
built and the front feet have four toes (hence its species name
"tetradactyla" meaning "four toes"). The third toe is
the largest and strongest, with a very long claw. The hind feet
have five toes. T.tetradactyla
can be over two feet long (~535-880 mm), with another two feet
(~400-590 mm) added on for its tail. It weighs between 10 and
15 lbs (2-7 kg). Its life span is up to 9 years long.
feeds on ants, termites, beetles and insect larvae which it
catches with its long, sticky tongue. Unlike the Giant Anteater,
however, it can climb nimbly up trees in search of its prey.
is 130-150 days. In spring, the female gives birth to a single
offspring, and for a long period carries it clinging to her
back or flanks.
tetradactyla is found in South America east of the Andes
from Columbia, Venezuela, Trinidad, and the Guianas, south to
Uruguay and N Argentina. Its habitats consist of wet and dry
forests, including tropical rainforest, savanna, and thorn scrub.