A giant anteater can grow up to 7 feet in length and may weight up to 90 lbs.
It has long claws at its front paws which are used to dig up ants and termites.
Giant Anteater chases Jaguar away
Washington (AFP) – Giant anteaters in Brazil have killed two hunters in separate incidents, raising concerns about the animals’ loss of habitat and the growing risk of dangerous encounters with people, researchers said.
The long-nosed, hairy mammals are not typically aggressive toward people..
However, they have poor vision and if frightened, they may defend themselves with front claws that are as long as pocketknives.
“Both were farmers, were hunting and were attacked by wounded or cornered animals,” lead author Vidal Haddad of the Botucatu School of Medicine at Sao Paulo State University told AFP.
In the first case, a 47-year-old man was hunting with his two sons and his dogs when they came upon a giant anteater in northern Brazil. The hunter did not shoot at the animal, but he approached it with his knife drawn.
The anteater stood on its hind legs and grabbed the man with its forelimbs, causing deep puncture wounds in his thighs and upper arms.
The hunter bled to death at the scene, said the report, which noted that the encounter happened on August 1, 2012 but had not been described in scientific literature until now.
The other case involved a 75-year-old man who died in 2010 when an anteater used its long front claws — which typically help it dig into anthills — to puncture his femoral arteries, located in the groin and thigh.
Zookeepers generally avoid being in the same space as the animals, coaxing them into separate fenced-off areas when they approach their living quarters for cleaning, she added.