A little tamandua (lesser anteater) named Otis who lives at the San Diego Zoo showed off his incredibly long tongue to root out some ants at the bottom of a tube. His keeper explained what makes these animals so unique.
His tongue is 16 inches long and is covered in tiny little barbs and really sticky saliva, I mean crazy sticky. And his mouth is only about as big around as a pencil.
Here’s more information about the tamanduas at the San Diego Zoo.
The tamandua (pronounced tuh MAN doo wah) is a type of anteater and is often called a lesser anteater because it is much smaller than its relative, the giant anteater. A specialized mouth and tongue enables tamanduas to eat up to 9,000 ants in a single day! Their sticky, barbed-tongues are 16-inches-long (41 centimeters) and perfect for slurping up tiny insects. The lesser anteater’s thick, coarse fur protects them from angry ants trying to bite their skin while they dine.