Dallas Zoo Welcomes A New Giant Anteater

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A new animal is on display at the Dallas Zoo.

Weighing nearly 100 pounds, sporting a very fluffy tail and ready to capture dinner with a tongue that is about two feet long, the zoo now has a giant anteater.

Mochila, a male 6 foot long giant anteater, arrived at the zoo in late November.

The mammal is the first resident of a new giant anteater habitat. The new digs feature a large grassy area, swimming pool, sand and mulch for digging, trees and old logs to house and allow searching for their ant treats.

Mochila, which means backpack in Spanish, is two-years-old.

The new giant anteater habitat will be home to one for only a short time – the zoo will soon be getting a female giant anteater.

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

Adult giant anteaters are the largest of the four anteater species.

While the animals are large in size and rather imposing, they have no teeth. The giant anteaters use their long tongues and sticky saliva extract up to 30,000 insects and other edibles per day — from logs and nests.

While the giant anteater isn’t considered to be near extinction, the International Union for Conservation of Nature them as vulnerable due to habitat loss and hunting.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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