- Every two weeks, Mongabay brings you a new episode of Candid Animal Cam, our show featuring animals caught on camera traps around the world and hosted by Romi Castagnino, our writer and conservation scientist.
Camera traps bring you closer to the secretive natural world and are an important conservation tool to study wildlife. This week we’re meeting the northern tamandua.
The northern tamandua (Tamandua mexicana) is a medium-sized anteater that lives in tropical and subtropical forests from southern Mexico, through Central America, to the edge of the northern Andes in South America. Tamanduas are adapted to an arboreal lifestyle; they have a prehensile tail and forefeet that enable them to grip branches and climb. They are specialized to eat termites and ants, and like other anteaters, they have no teeth. Their mouth opening is only about the diameter of a pencil, and their tongues are long, extending to about 40 cm. Tamanduas detect termites and ants’ nests by scent and they use their powerful claws to rip them open. To extract the insects, they use their long and narrow tongues which are coated with sticky saliva and backward-facing projections that ensnare the ants and termites. They may eat up to 9,000 insects per day. Watch the video to learn more about this species!
Special thanks to Osa Conservation for sharing their footage with us. The arboreal footage was obtained during a study looking at habitat connectivity and arboreal wildlife use in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. And the terrestrial videos were obtained during a region-wide study assessing wildlife population distributions by the Ridge-to-Reef Camera Trap Network in the Osa Peninsula.
You can follow their work on Instagram at @OsaConservation.
Banner photo: a northern tamandua by José R/Wikimedia Commons.
Romi Castagnino is Mongabay’s bilingual writer. Find her on Twitter and Instagram: @romi_castagnino