What Animal Has No Teeth or Jaws, But Can Still Eat?

There are many animals without teeth, but almost every animal has some kind of jaws it can open and close to take in food. Except the anteater!

This strange-looking creature from South America appears to have no mouth, for his snout is shaped like a tube and contains neither teeth nor jaws.

Then how does the anteater eat? . . . With his tongue! The anteater’s tongue is very long, sometimes over a foot in length, and very sticky. The anteater searches for an ant hill, rips it open with his paws, and licks up dozens of ants with a single swipe of his tongue. Then the anteater sucks his tongue back into his tube-like snout and swallows the ants in one gulp!

A creature that eats only ants may seem harmless, but the anteater is strong and vicious. He has sharp claws on his front feet and a sharp spine behind those claws that can punch a hole in an animal’s flesh. And the giant anteater may be as big as a bear!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

2 thoughts on “What Animal Has No Teeth or Jaws, But Can Still Eat?”

  1. There are also countless invertebrates that have neither teeth nor jaws, but still manage to ingest food just fine. Here are just a few: clams, most snails, true bugs, butterflies and moths, sea squirts, sea stars, and many endoparasites, some of which don’t even have mouths (e.g., tapeworms). There are even some non-parasitic worms that don’t have mouths or guts—deep-sea worms like pogonophorans and the “giant tubeworms” around hydrothermal vents.

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