Wildlife Spotlight: World Tamandua Day
Meet Kamala, our lesser anteater
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is home to many species of animals of all shapes and sizes. One of the smallest, yet strongest at the park, is Kamala, a 12-year-old female tamandua. The tamandua (pronounced tuh MAN doo wah), also known as a lesser anteater, live on average 7 to 9 years and are incredibly strong for their small size. Even though tamandua will only reach a maximum of 15 pounds, their mighty front claws can easily rip apart a termite mound. In fact, these claws are so strong that even concrete doesn’t stand a chance.
Tamanduas in the wild inhabit much of Central and South America; from the rainforests to the savannahs, and are well adapted to feeding on termites, ants, and even bees. Not only do their claws allow easy access to these insects but they also have a 16-inch tongue with sticky salivia that allows them to reach deep into thin tunnels to grab lots of yummy insects at once. In fact, these talented insectivores can eat up to 9,000 ants and termites each day! Their short thick fur keeps them safe from insect bites while eating and digging up the mounds. Their prehensile tail is strong enough to hang the weight of their entire body. In fact, the tendons in the tail are so strong that people used to make rope out of it.
Kamala is now enjoying the retired life, often going for strolls around the park with her trainers, enjoying some of her favorite treats and sleeping in the sunshine. If you make your way over to the Land side of the park, there is a good chance you could meet this adorable and important animal ambassador. You might also be able to catch a glimpse of her during our Backstage Safari program.