Learn the xenarthrans with this educational video for children. In addition to anteater videos, sloth videos, and armadillo videos, you will listen and learn anteater sounds, sloth sounds and armadillo sounds and photos.
Xenarthrans are a small group of placental mammals consisting of insectivores and herbivores of small to medium body size (up to around 60 kg). Anteaters, sloths, and armadillos are members of this group. There are six living sloth, four anteater, and 20 species of armadillos.
Living xenarthrans are known only from the Western Hemisphere. They are the results of a spectacular radiation that produced some very strange mammals during the Paleocene Epoch in South America when this region was an enormous island isolated from other land masses. Today only smaller tree sloths, anteaters, and armadillos remain occupying very specialized ecological niches.
Xenarthrans share several characteristics not present in other placental mammals. The name Xenarthra means “strange joints”. This name was chosen because of their vertebral joints that have extra articulations, unlike other mammals.
Two distinct groups are enclosed within Xenarthra: The Cingulata, which include all modern-day armadillos and giant armadillos. They can be easily identified by the bony armor that covers their head, body, and tail (except in armadillos of the genus Cabassous, which have a naked tail). Although all armadillos feed on insects, some species also eagerly ingest other food items, such as plants, small vertebrates, or even carrion.
The Pilosa comprise two groups: Vermilingua, or anteaters: their most prominent feature is a long snout and a long, prehensile tongue that helps them capture ants and termites, their preferred prey. Anteaters lack teeth.
Folivora (= Tardigrada or Phyllophaga), or sloths: modern sloths live almost exclusively in trees, while the large, prehistoric forms were terrestrial. Sloths are famous for their slow movements and uncanny ability to hide in the tree canopy. All extant sloths feed on plants.
Please have a look at our animal sounds page for more educational videos of the animals of the planet Earth.