Zoo Knoxville Prepares to Debut Giant Anteater March 2, 2020

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email

Zoo Knoxville Prepares to Debut Giant Anteater March 2, 2020

Posted: 02/27/2020
Tiana the Giant AnteaterTiana, the first giant anteater in Zoo Knoxville’s history, will make her public debut on Monday, March 2, 2020.  Annual passholders and Circle of Friends members will get a special VIP opportunity to see her before she goes on public view this weekend.

Weighing in at 100-pounds and measuring nearly 6 feet in length (not including her two-foot-long tongue), Tiana the anteater is busy exploring her new home in the zoo’s Wee Play Adventure building. She is a very inquisitive girl who enjoys a good nap and loves avocados.

Giant anteaters live in the tropical, dry forests, savannas, and grasslands of Central  and South America.  Anteaters have some interesting physical characteristics; they have 2 large claws on their front feet that they use to dig for food and to defend themselves.  To keep them sharp, they walk on their wrists with their claws curled under.  Despite this, they can gallop up to 30 miles-per-hour when necessary.  They use their distinctive long, bushy tails as an insulator and blanket to protect themselves from the sun and rain, and can also use it as a tripod to steady themselves when they stand up on their hind legs.  

Giant anteaters are being impacted by habitat loss, especially from fires in grassland regions, and hunting.  It is estimated that only 5,000 giant anteaters are left in the wild, and they are classified as a threatened species.  

On Friday, February 28, the zoo is hosting a reception exclusively for Circle of Friends members from 4:30 until 6:30 p.m.  Annual passholders are invited to see her on Saturday, February 29, 2020 and Sunday, March 1, 2020,  from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. each day.  Passholder or membership cards must be presented for entry.