Giant anteater in the Pantanal, Brazil
© Pedro Ferreira do Amaral/Getty Image
Behold the giant anteater, whose shaggy-haired appearance is a familiar sight in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso, Brazil. Giant anteaters are adapted to living in a variety of habitats. Although these mammals spend most of the time on the ground, they can climb trees. With powerful, curved claws and a tongue that can reach up to 60 centimetres, giant anteaters specialise in feeding on ants and termites, using their acute sense of smell to find their meal. Anteaters play a role as pest controllers and seed dispersers, so their survival—and the survival of many species—is crucial to keep ecosystems balanced.