An Anteater Named Teddy

Even as a pet, his single interest was in ants, and he never quite got used to a tame chimpanzee.

anteater looking for ants

“Let's just see whether there are some ants down here.”

Lilo Hess

Teddy could control his claws like fingers and could grasp things tightly with them. The anteater’s hind foot is quite different from his front one. Most anteaters are nocturnal, but Teddy became so adjusted to the life of my house that he was awake from eleven A.M. to seven P.M. At seven he would curl up in his box, fold his tail over his head, and remain "dead to the world" until the next morning. I could almost set my clock by his habits. When I heard him snorting and pushing his empty bowl around in the morning, I would know it was eleven o'clock and that Teddy wanted to be fed.

It took him almost a half to three-quarters of an hour to finish his food. He got eight ounces of milk, two eggs, and some chopped beef and cereal twice daily. He usually lay down while eating and closed his eyes. Nothing would disturb him when he fed. The chimp would bang on the wire of his cage and poke her fingers in his food. When she could not reach it, she would shake the cage in anger, but Teddy went on eating. When he had finished he would walk up and down impatiently, eager to go outside so he could eat some ants. Christine would let Teddy pull her around in the little wagon, but she soon grew impatient, for he stopped all the time to look for ants. Only once did I hear him make any other noise than the snorting and grunting sound and that was when he got tired of being photographed and pushed around for "just one more picture." He turned on me and gave a hissing snarl, almost like a tiger or lion. Otherwise he was very mute, and I don't know whether he had many other sounds. He was a very stubborn animal, always ready to protect himself with his only weapon, his claws. His movements were swift, almost graceful. He had but one thought in his head—ants. Though he made friends with man, he was not domesticated.

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