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I’m pretty fond of doing the Saturday quiz in the Adelaide newspaper, though I never keep score. I mean, who knows who won the Olympic backstroke in 1978? That was before I was born! I can’t let that drag down my credit rating, you know.

Anyway, last week it asked which land mammal has the longest tail. What do you think?




Go on, have a guess.




Got one?

If you thought a giraffe, congratulations. You got it, at least, that’s what the paper said. It’s so dang tall, even its knee-length tail breaks records.

But that’s not the animal I want to talk about. Pff, giraffes. Have you seen them drink? Gimme a break.

I want to talk about the giant anteater that has an almost equally long tail, and a far finer one IMHO.

Found in South and Central America, as far down as Northern Argentina. They eat a lazy 35,000 ants a day with their lovely long tongue and fearsome claws, which rip and tear into rock-hard anthills. They eat quickly for a minute, than meander off to the next anthill leaving the colony to recover.

Plus, they are MASSIVE! Giant anteaters can be over two metres long, roughly seven feet.

Three feet of that length is all tail baby. Long, hairy tail. Not quite long enough (by inches!) to rival that of the giraffe, sadly. Still… you know… I was pretty close.

Here’s Wikipedia’s image of the giant anteater. Notice anything weird?

Giant anteater

Giant anteater, image by Malene Thyssen

How much does its front foot look like a panda? I had to look twice to make sure the animals weren’t cohabiting or something.

Made me wonder if there aren’t other, even more exciting tails out in the animal kingdom. Comment if you’ve got ’em.