AskDefine | Define anteater

Dictionary Definition



1 toothless mammal of southern Africa and Asia having a body covered with horny scales and a long snout for feeding on ants and termites [syn: pangolin, scaly anteater]
2 any of several tropical American mammals of the family Myrmecophagidae which lack teeth and feed on ants and termites [syn: New World anteater]
3 nocturnal burrowing mammal of the grasslands of Africa that feeds on termites; sole extant representative of the order Tubulidentata [syn: aardvark, ant bear, Orycteropus afer]
4 small Australian marsupial having long snout and strong claws for feeding on termites; nearly extinct [syn: numbat, banded anteater, Myrmecobius fasciatus]
5 New Guinea echidnas [syn: echidna, spiny anteater]
6 burrowing spine-covered monotreme of Australia having a long snout and claws for hunting ants and termites [syn: echidna, spiny anteater]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Any of several animals, in suborder Vermilingua, which are noted for eating ants and termites which they catch with their long sticky tongues.
  2. A common term used of some other unrelated species that feed with ants, including pangolin ("scaly anteater"), echidna ("spiny anteater"), aardvark and numbat ("banded anteater").

Extensive Definition

Anteaters are the four mammal species of the suborder Vermilingua commonly known for eating ants and termites. Together with the sloths, they compose the order Pilosa. The name "anteater" is also colloquially applied to the unrelated aardvark, numbat, echidna, and pangolin.
Species include the Giant Anteater Myrmecophaga tridactyla, about 1.8 m (6 ft.) long including the tail; the tamandua or collared Anteater Tamandua tetradactyla, about 90 cm (3 ft.) long; and the Silky Anteater Cyclopes didactylus, about 35 cm (14 in.) long.



anteater in Dutch: Echte miereneters
anteater in Norwegian: Maurslukere
anteater in Norwegian Nynorsk: Maurslukar
anteater in Polish: Mrówkojady
anteater in Portuguese: Tamanduá
anteater in Russian: Муравьеды
anteater in Simple English: Anteater
anteater in Finnish: Muurahaiskarhut
anteater in Swedish: Myrslokar
anteater in Chinese: 食蚁兽科
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