With their lengthy noses, long-haired bodies and fan-like tails, our giant anteater, Bliss, arrived at Chester Zoo in 2010 as part of an international breeding programme.

You won't be surprised to learn that they're called anteaters because: they eat ants! Amazingly a single animal can devour up to 30,000 ants in a day. Once they find an ant hill or termite mound they rip it open using their claws and then vacuum up the ants through that long nose. 

They are slow moving animals as a rule, but they can run short distances when they need to. When not eating, they spend much of their time asleep, covering themselves up with that furry tail which acts like a warming blanket.

Giant anteaters, as the name suggests, are the world's biggest anteater species. In Central and South America they live in grasslands and rainforests.

For many generations they were widespread but today their numbers vary drastically between countries. They're one of the most threatened mammals in Central America and in Brazil - in some areas of the country where they once roamed freely there are now none left.

In many areas they are considered a pest or hunted for food and in Central America much of the grassland they depend on to survive has been destroyed.

We play an important role in the future survival of this vulnerable species through our support for conservation projects in the wild.

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Interesting facts

Where they live: Central and South America including Honduras, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina

Habitat: Forests, savannas, open grassland

Size: Up to 2m length

Weight: male up to 50kg; female up to 55kg

Threats: Habitat loss; hunting; sometimes killed on roads by local traffic.

Scientific name: Myrmecophaga tridactyla