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What is the difference between an anteater and an aardvark?

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Quick Answer

The anteater is one of several species of the Pilosa, while the aardvark is the only species of Tubulidentata. They are unrelated to each other, but they are often misidentified because they both have long snouts and adhesive tongues. They also both subsist on termites and ants.

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Full Answer

The anteater comes from South and Central America, while the aardvark is a nocturnal South African burrowing mammal. Anteaters have long, bushy fur, while Aardvarks have short, coarse hair. Anteaters are related to the sloth and the armadillo. The anteater is divided into three groups. Silky anteaters are usually less than 1 foot long. Tamanduas grow to 2 feet in length. Giant anteaters grow to be 4 feet long. Anteaters prefer swampy areas along the banks of rivers and in the forest.

Aardvarks have a thick body with an arched back, an elongated head and long ears. An Aardvark's weight is typically between 110 to 180 pounds. Its head and body length ranges from 43 to 53 inches, and it tail ranges from 21 to 26 inches. An aardvark's skin is so tough that it can comfortably sleep in an ant nest.

Both animals have large salivary glands that produce thick, sticky saliva that traps insects on their tongues. The anteater's tongue can protrude 24 inches and unearth ants by the hundreds. They can flick their tongues in and out 150 times per minute, and they consume 30,000 ants and termites each day. ­The aardvark's tongue is only half as long as the anteater's. Anteaters are toothless, while Aardvarks have cylindrical-shaped teeth that continue to grow through their lives.

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