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Zoo News

Zoo News

Giant anteater is Dallas Zoo’s newest resident
Dec 20, 2013

Female companion scheduled to join Mochila soon in new habitat 

The Dallas Zoo’s newest resident is hard to miss: Mochila the giant anteater is 6 feet long (counting a very fluffy tail), weighs nearly 100 pounds and has a tongue about 2 feet long.

Mochila arrived in late November to become the first resident of a new giant anteater habitat. The exhibit features a large grassy area with a pool for swimming, sand and mulch for digging, and trees and old logs for poking around in search of ant treats.

Two-year-old Mochila (“backpack” in Spanish) has a laidback personality and has made a smooth transition to his new home. Mochila will soon be joined by a female giant anteater, as well.

“We’re pleased to have such unique animals on exhibit so our visitors have the opportunity to see and learn about the threatened species,” said Lora Baumhardt, mammal supervisor.

Adult giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) are the largest of the four anteater species. Because they have no teeth, their long tongues and sticky saliva help them extract up to 30,000 insects and other edibles per day from logs and nests. These solitary mammals are native to Central and South America, where they prefer tropical forests and grasslands. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the giant anteater as vulnerable due to habitat loss and hunting.

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