Horizon at Sandy Point

Friday, December 3, 2010

What do you know...

What's my inner animal? My Chinese horoscope - based on the year of birth - says that I am a hare. Not the hare that sits in the moon according to the legend, but a metal hare, hard as flint - which incidentally is my Mayan birth symbol - flint knife which can generally cut through BS. In Western astrology, I am not even an animal, but the balancer, the scales - symbol of decision-making or in my case, indecision.

The other day, WWF (World Wildlife Fund) offered the chance to find out my "inner animal." Turns out I am the Giant Silky Anteater. This is an animal that - like the whale - gets to a huge size from eating some of the smallest creatures, termites. Anty is a loner - does not move or hunt in packs - and grows to about seven or eight feet long with a long bushy tail which it curls over itself when sleeping. Anty stands four feet high at the shoulders, like a big dog. She doesn't have any teeth, which gives her species name edentata (no teeth) Myrmecophagidae (ant-eater). Instead her mouth has an opening that is pencil thin, and a sticky tongue that can protrude to about 20 inches out.

Giant silky anteaters live mainly in the savannas of south America, with a range from Uruguay to Argentina, west to the Andes and up to southern Mexico. They find huge termites nests which they break into with long curved claws, three on each forefoot, each claw about four inches long. As the ants swarm to the breach, Anty laps them up with a long sticky tongue, swallowing thousands (maybe 30,000 a day) of the bugs whole and alive. With tongue flicks at a rate up to 160 times a minute, she doesn't feast for very long at a time, but will return to the same nest again and again. The nests are never destroyed but allowed to recoup before they are harvested on another occasion.

Female giant silkies bear one young at a time which is carried on the back of the female until it can fend for itself, about two years. It is noticed that the line marking the side of the animal lines up with the youngster riding her back, making the baby almost invisible. Courtship with the male takes place in fall in the southern hemisphere, (March to May) and the baby is born 29 weeks later. Adult silkies don't make much sound though the baby will grunt or squeal especially if it falls off mother's back.

Giant silky anteaters are a species thought to be over 70 million years old, already developed during the age of the dinosaurs.

So now you know something else about me!

Check your own "inner animal" on this site:

My inner animal -giant silky anteater

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