The World's Strangest Animals
© Frans Lanting/Corbis
What it is: The name says it all; this creature (while not quite giant—it’s about the size of a golden retriever) is more or less built to consume huge quantities of ants and termites (some 35,000 per day). Its four-inch claws are strong enough to crack even petrified termite mounds; its giant bushy tail allows it to balance on its back legs while digging; and its long prehensile snout and darting, sticky tongue give it easy access to its favorite food.
What’s strangest about it: Giant anteaters walk on their front knuckles, with their claws curled off the ground. This keeps them super-sharp for their main task: excavating.
Where to see it: The forests and savannahs of Central and South America. Giant anteaters are particularly populous in the Pantanal region of western Brazil; travelers who take guided treks here with International Expeditions (www.ietravel.com) will spot plenty of them.