Pygmy anteater, Silky anteater, Pygmy anteater
The silky anteater, also known as the pygmy anteater, has traditionally been considered a single species of anteater, Cyclopes didactylus, in the genus Cyclopes, the only living genus in the family Cyclopedidae. Found in southern Mexico, and Central and South America, it is the smallest of all known anteaters. It has nocturnal habits and appears to be completely arboreal; its hind feet are highly modified for climbing.Show More
A taxonomic review in 2017, including both molecular and morphological evidence, found that Cyclopes may actually comprise at least seven species. The only known extinct cyclopedid species is Palaeomyrmidon incomtus, from the Late Miocene (c. 7 to 9 million years ago) of modern-day Argentina.Show Less
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by being active during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal",...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
An insectivore is a carnivorous plant or animal that eats insects. An alternative term is entomophage, which also refers to the human practice of e...
Myrmecophagy is a feeding behavior defined by the consumption of termites or ants, particularly as pertaining to those animal species whose diets a...
Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion of animals in trees. In habitats in which trees are present, animals have evolved to move in them. Some anima...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Scansorial animals are those that are adapted to or specialized for climbing. Many animals climb not only in tress but also in other habitats, such...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
Silky anteaters are the smallest living anteaters. They have dense and soft fur, which ranges from grey to yellowish in color, with a silvery sheen. Many subspecies have darker, often brownish, streaks, and paler underparts or limbs. The eyes are black, and the soles of the feet are red. Silky anteaters have partially prehensile tails.
Silky anteaters are found in southern Mexico, and Central and South America. They range from Oaxaca and southern Veracruz in Mexico, through Central America (except El Salvador), and south to Ecuador, and northern Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. A distinct population is found in the northern Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil. Silky anteaters are also found on the island of Trinidad. They inhabit a range of different forest types, including semi-deciduous, tropical evergreen, and mangrove forests.
Silky anteaters are nocturnal and arboreal slow-moving animals. They are found in lowland rainforests with continuous canopies, where they can move to different places without the need to descend from trees. They are solitary creatures. Females have smaller home ranges than males. During the day, they typically sleep curled up in a ball. Although Silky anteaters are rarely seen in the forest, they can be found more easily when they are foraging on lianas at night. It is suggested that Silky anteaters usually dwell in silk cotton trees. Because of their resemblance to the seed pod fibers of these trees, they can use the trees as camouflage and avoid attacks of predators such as hawks and, especially, Harpy eagles. When threatened, Silky anteaters defend themselves. They stand on their hind legs and hold their forefeet close to their faces so they can strike any animal that tries to get close with its sharp claws.
Silky anteaters are carnivores (myrmecophagous, insectivores). They feed mainly on ants but will also consume other insects, such as termites and small coccinellid beetles.
Little information is known about the mating system and reproductive behavior of Silky anteaters. Females are known to give birth to a single pup usually in September or October. The gestation period lasts 120-150 days. The young are born already furred, and with a similar color pattern to the adults. They begin to take solid food when they are about one-third of the adult mass. Pups are usually placed inside a nest of dead leaves built in tree holes and left for about eight hours each night. Both parents take part in raising young. Males sometimes carry their young on their backs.
There are no major threats to Silky anteaters. In some areas, they are captured and kept as pets, although they usually don't survive long in captivity.
The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Silky anteater total population size. This animal is common and widespread throughout its known range. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.