Can Anteaters Kill Humans? (Should You Worry?)

Not much is known about anteaters for many of us, except perhaps the fact that they are known to eat ants and that they are their staple food. However, we will look at anteaters from a different perspective. In this article, we will try to find answers to the question – can anteaters kill humans?

In general, anteaters are known to be shy and withdrawn and given a chance, they would like to avoid confrontation with humans. However, there have been instances where humans have encroached upon the anteater’s turf. When this happens, anteaters are known to react violently and they may end up injuring or even killing human beings. Hence, it would always be a better idea to stay away from anteaters and stop encroaching into their territories. 

However, we need to understand that anteaters have very poor eyesight and vision. Furthermore, they also do not have powerful or keen hearing and they also do not have any teeth.

In spite of the above, there is no denying the fact that anteaters at times have been known to be deadly and unpredictable. They are known to cause serious injuries to human beings, especially the fully grown anteaters. Let us learn more about these fascinating creatures over the next few lines. 

They are known to Kill People 

Though such instances are extremely rare and few and far between, there have been instances where anteaters have attacked human beings. There has been one specific recorded incident in North-Western Brazil that is quite interesting. One hunter was killed by a huge anteater and the reason for this is however not clear.

There also has been another recorded incident where a similar incident with a long-nosed anteater has left a man killed. Though such incidents may be extremely rare, there are a few things that we must bear in mind. 

Giant Anteater Dimensions
Giant Anteater Dimensions

How to find out if anteaters are agitated? 

It would always be advisable to be proactive rather than being reactive when it comes to dealing with anteaters. Like all animals, even anteaters have some classic defensive mechanisms that they follow when they feel that they are being threatened or if their territory is being encroached.

Most of them assume a standing position, if and when they feel that they are threatened. This is also referred to by experts as the classic anteater’s hug.

If you look up the history and life of anteaters, you will come across many videos of these anteaters standing tall with outstretched arms. However, in real life, if you ever come across anteaters with their arms outstretched, you can be sure that these anteaters are quite agitated and you also can be reasonably sure that they are throwing up the red flag. 

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They Are Extremely Powerful 

There are a few reasons why human beings should be wary of anteaters, especially when you are in their territories. They come in different sizes and there are massively sized anteaters that can easily overpower a person. There are also known instances where fully grown anteaters have fought and pinned down jaguars.

Those who understand jaguars know fully well that they are extremely powerful and ferocious. Hence, it would be wrong to go by their docile and soft looks. They are generally timid and would love to keep to themselves. However, as mentioned above, when their territories are threatened and when they feel that their little ones are under threat, these animals turn ferocious.

The male anteaters are known to grow to a size of around 50 kg and their body length could be up to 7.12 feet. Their tongue can be up to two feet long and they will use it as a defense mechanism when they are threatened. However, they make use of it to look for tasty ants which of course is their main and staple diet. 


To sum up, there are enough reasons to believe that you should be careful and respectful of these animals. You must learn how to give importance to their territorial ambitions. You must stay away from them and stop irritating them or challenging them.

If you come across quite a few of them in a bunch, you should learn to be even more careful. Being proactive is always much better than being reactive with these beautiful but often dangerous animals.