“Anteater – who could have ever thought that such an animal could be so expressive? It’s all in their eyes. There are so many great storytellers other than humans.” ~ Robert Mitchum
Do you ever wonder who would be the first person to keep an anteater as pet?! Sounds crazy right? I mean aren’t they supposed to be in the jungle, busy climbing trees and eating bugs and insects! But, surprisingly, these days, many people are opting to keep these animals as pets! So what are anteaters really? Are they bears, sloths… what exactly are they? Anteaters are closely associated with the family of sloths and armadillos. There are different species of anteaters that you can choose to keep as pets. These are the Pygmy Anteaters, which are very small in size; then comes the Tamandua Anteaters which are medium-sized; and the Giant Anteaters, which as the name suggests, are the largest species of anteaters! Many people go for the silky anteater pet, which belongs to the tiny category and are equally cute and adorable. The spiny anteater too, is among the popular choices. So what does one need to do, in order to keep anteaters as pets? Relax, all your questions will be answered as we proceed further with this article.
Living with Anteaters as Pets
Although anteaters may appear to be these weird looking, long nosed bear like animals, keeping them as pets could be quite a refreshing experience in itself! However, before you go ahead and choose them as your pets, you must be sure whether they would be ‘your’ ideal pet or not! If you are the sorts who wants pets without the problem of taking extra special care, attention etc, then you must let go of anteaters and opt for a fish bowl instead! Consider keeping anteaters as pets the same like keeping dogs as pets. They may be wild, but when they are at ‘home’, they need the extra care. So what does pet anteater care include? The same is discussed as follows.
For starters, anteaters are very demanding, especially when it comes to ATTENTION! That’s right! Anteaters as pets demand a lot of attention, and the best/worse part is, that they are very expressive when they get, or do not get the attention of the keeper! Most of them wouldn’t believe, but anteaters are very expressive! They cry if you don’t attend to them, they also make the hissing noise when they feel protective, in short, the more attention and love you give them, the better it is. If you are the one who wants pets which are expressive and playful, then, anteaters are among the best choices that you have.
As the name suggests, ‘ant-eaters’ are the ones who eat ants, right? But if you think that’s the only food they survive on, then you are wrong! I mean it’s not possible to find enough ants all the way through! Did you know that a giant anteater can eat about 30,000 ants in a single day?!!! You can look for ants for them in your backyard, or an even better option would be to let them hunt for ants, bugs and termites themselves! They won’t be able to find 30,000 ants of course, but they will definitely enjoy having them as a snack! The other food items ideal for anteaters would be blue cheese, wheat bran, fruits, vegetables, avocados, spinach, flax meal, thyme etc. You can also feed them meat mixed with these ingredients, especially beef, which is something which they really like to eat! Also, make sure that you don’t feed them with too much sweet. Sugar is bad for anteaters.
For dogs, you can build a dog house, but as far as anteater as pet is concerned, you would require a fairly spacious cage, depending upon the type of anteater that you have! Also the cage must have a big enough hammock in it, because that is how the anteaters live in their natural habitat as well, not with a hammock of course, but they love to hang around! Therefore, adding some ropes in the cage is also a must! Decorating the cage with some interesting toys, pillows and blankets would make it more inviting and comfortable for the anteater.
The most adorable thing about anteaters is that they love to play around! So you need to make sure that you trim their claws once in every 3-4 days! They use it while wrestling playfully, which might end up hurting either you or the pet itself! Another ‘important’ tip, a necessity rather, would be to take your pet anteater for walks, at least once in a day! Their ‘pee’ has an extremely strong skunky smell, so taking them out for walks would be a good idea! It is also ideal to put a leash around its neck, just like a dog, when you take the anteater out. They are harmless, but may be tempted to climb up the tree or run away chasing an ant or a bug!
Anteaters are exotic pets, and therefore, are costly. The younger, healthier and prettier the anteater, the more costly would it be! They generally range from about $1,400-$5,000. Many a time, it takes about a year for someone to get their anteater pet, because they are so rare and are among the endangered species in the world! This is why it is important for you to research properly and decide if you would like an anteater as pet! They are known as the ‘delicate keeper’! So make sure that you give enough love, care and food to this adorable animal, instead of making yours and his life miserable! Good luck!