Regular readers of this blog will know that I love animals of the long-snouted variety. To celebrate both mine and my partner's recent birthdays we took a trip to Colchester Zoo yesterday. It was baking hot, and we did a lot of walking, but we managed to see all the long-snouted animals we expected: the giant anteater, the aardvark, and the dik dik spring to mind on recollection. As well as seeing and enjoying the regular animals with their regular-sized snouts, of course; including the lucky experience of watching a chimpanzee shit into its hand.
However, rather astonishingly, I saw a picture of a long-snouted animal next to an (unfortunately) seemingly empty enclosure that I hadn't heard of before (my partner said she knew of this one, and had in fact previously mentioned it to me, but I must have forgotten). The animal in question is from the genus of anteaters and is a Tamandua.
Looks pretty cool, doesn't it. Well, I looked within the enclosure through the mesh but couldn't see anything, and then I pressed my face to the glass on the other side of the enclosure and shielded the glare from the sun, but if the tamandua was there it certainly wasn't as bothered about seeing me as I was of seeing it. Most disappointing.
Tamandua is a genus of anteaters. It has two members: the southern tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla) and the northern tamandua (Tamandua mexicana). They live in forests and grasslands, are semi-arboreal, and possess partially prehensile tails. They mainly eat ants and termites, but they occasionally eat bees, beetles, and insect larvae. In captivity, they will eat fruits and meat. They have no teeth and depend on their powerful gizzard to break down their food.
There's also the interesting fact: When aggravated, tamanduas communicate by hissing and releasing an unpleasant scent from their anal gland.
But more importantly, just look at the length of that snout!