Saturday, March 17, 2012

Things I Find Fascinating: Anteaters!

So, it's the weekend, and my creativity is pretty much shot for the week. Therefore, instead of writing something deep, insightful, or even funny today, I am going to inform you and hopefully entertain you with facts about anteaters, pictures of anteaters, and best of all, videos of anteaters. Keep reading if this interests you. But if you choose not to keep reading, you're missing out. 'Cuz anteaters are awesome! After seeing some of these videos, I officially want one -- maybe two. And so will you. Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER:  Nearly 100% of the text to follow is ripped directly from -- I didn't research it any farther than that. Any facts that are incorrect are not my fault. All pictures and videos also belong to the people who originally posted them. I don't claim to own anything here, nor am I profiting from using it in any way. Just getting that out of the way. Now, enjoy!

1)  Some General Info About Anteaters.  "Anteaters, also known as antbear, are the four mammal species of the suborder Vermilingua (meaning 'worm tongue'), commonly known for eating ants and termites." They are most closely related to the sloths, with which they compose the order Pilosa. The four species currently in existence include the Giant Anteater, the Silky Anteater, the Southern Tamandua (also known as the Collared Anteater), and the Northern Tamandua.

Anteaters are most easily identified by their elongated snout, a thin tongue which can be extended to a length greater than the length of the head, and a tube-shaped mouth completely devoid of teeth. Anteaters use their large, curved front claws to tear open ant and termite mounts, and also use them to defend themselves. Their long fur protects them attacks from the insects. All anteaters except the Giant Anteater have a prehensile tail.

Are you bored yet? Good, because I am too. Let's move on...

2)  The Anteater As A Mascot. The University of California, Irvine has used the anteater as their mascot and team name since 1965, when three undergraduate students suggested it as part of a campus-wide mascot election. Supposedly, the three students (Pat Glasgow, Bob Ernst, and Schuyler Hadley Basset III, if you care) were disappointed with other mascots that had been proposed, including the roadrunner, unicorn, seahawk, and golden bison. The cartoon sketch which the three guys came up with for the anteater was inspired by the Anteater character from the Johnny Hart comic strip, "B.C." For some reason, UCI's water polo team was heavily in favor of selecting the anteater as the mascot and used their influence (water polo teams actually HAVE influence?) to sway the voting toward their favorite choice. The anteater prevailed, grabbing 56% of the vote, and just barely beating "none of the above" in the final tally. Since that time, the anteater has grown to become a beloved mascot among UCI enthusiasts, and is the inspiration for many of the school's athletic and campus spirit traditions.

3)  Speaking Of The Anteater From B.C...  The Anteater in Hart's classic comic strip (one of my favorites, by the way) is often seen eating ants with its sticky, elastic tongue, making a ZOT! sound in the process. Technically, Hart's version of the anteater was anatomically incorrect, possessing the long ears of an aardvark (with which anteaters are quite often mistaken) and the bushy tail of a Giant Anteater.

 4)  The Anteater As A Video Game. Way back in 1982, Tago Electronics released Anteater as a maze arcade game. In the game, the player controls an anteater that elongates its proboscis (nose) through maze-like anthills eating ants. The player can only eat ants with the tip of the anteater's proboscis. If an ant bites the anteater's proboscis at any other location, the player loses a life. Worms will not harm the anteater unless they are eaten head-first, in which case the player loses a life. Eating queen ants at the very bottom of the nest will temporarily clear all ants and worms from the screen. The object of the game is to eat all of the larvae before time runs out, clearing the screen. Each larva is worth 10 points. Each ant is worth 100 points, while eating a worm is worth 200 points and multiplies the score the player receives from eating ants by one time. Queen ants are worth 1,000 points.

5)  The Anteater As An Internet Meme.  For those of you who don't know what an "Internet meme" is, the term basically refers to a concept that spreads quickly from person to person via the Internet, largely through email, blogs, forums, image boards, social networking sites, instant messaging, and video streaming sites such as You Tube. If you've ever heard the phrase "going viral", that's basically the same thing. In recent months and even years, the anteater has become a popular Internet meme. It started about three years ago when a creatively vulgar person posted a photo of a defiant-looking anteater standing in an open field with its arms stretched wide, under which the caption read, "#@%& You, I'm An Anteater!"  For obvious reasons, I won't spell out what it actually said, but it wasn't in fact #@%&, it was a "dirty word." Anyway, since then some far less vulgar folks have come up with similar photos that they've captioned which depict anteaters in amusing situations or simply have funny captions. I've compiled a few of the better ones here below...

6)  Amusing You Tube Videos.  Here are just a few among the many adorable videos featuring anteaters which can be found on You Tube and similar sites. I'm warning you -- after viewing these, you are going to want one. Or two...

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