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Can I Have an Anteater for a Pet?

Have ants invaded your kitchen? Are they ruining your picnic? Do you have ants in your plants? A logical solution would be to visit your local shelter and adopt an anteater for a pet. Before you start picking names for your soon-to-be anteater pet, you should know they cost somewhere around $5,000 - $8,000. For that kind of cash you can get a giant anteater, which will grow to nearly 7 feet in length and weigh 140 pounds. Less is more with the pygmy anteater which, as its name implies, tops out at only around 14 inches. Somewhere in the middle are the most common species kept as pets, the northern tamandua and southern tamandua. These critters are about 4 feet in length.

All anteaters look impossibly cute in their pencil necked, pointy faced cuddliness. Inside that long snout is a longer tongue which rolls out to do what the anteater is built to do—suck up ants and termites from their nests. Their tongues are sticky like flypaper and can be flicked into an ant mound in a rotting tree more than 150 times per minute.

As it turns out, those who do keep anteaters as pets say they are as loving and expressive as dogs. They respond when you call their names and even demand attention when neglected. On the other hand, most animal experts say if you love anteaters, you should probably leave them in the wild forests of Central and South America where they can live happily ever after. Also, if threatened, a giant anteater can disembowel you with one swipe of its sharp, powerful claws. But that would make the ants in your kitchen seem like much less of a problem, no?