How Much Does an Anteater Cost?

Written by: Staff

Anteaters are considered any of the four species of the toothless, insect-eating mammals.

Found all throughout the Southern Hemisphere, they are commonly found in Africa, Asia and some parts of Australia.

Ybate_2b by gvgoebel, on Flickr
Ybate_2b” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by gvgoebel

How much does a pet anteater cost?

On average, an anteater can cost somewhere between $1,000 and $5,000+ depending on where it is purchased. As a general rule, you will pay more for a tame healthy young Anteater from a reputable breeder.  The costs, ultimately, will depend on the age, the quality, exact species, geographical location and the breeder you choose.  However, before purchasing, check with your local municipality to ensure owning this type of exotic pet is legal.

The Spruce notes that the average anteater could cost $3,500 to $8,000.

What are the extra costs?

These animals will require special permits to own as mentioned, and the costs will depend on your geographical location.

Weekly feeding can cost about $30 to $60, depending on what you feed it.  In the wild, anteaters live on their own or in pairs, usually with the mother and offspring, and mainly feed on ants and termites. They are known to be capable of consuming over 30,000 insects — mainly termites — each day.  In captivity, however, anteaters have high protein requirements due to their acidic stomachs and no teeth.  Most owners allow their pets to find ants while on a walk, but as for purchases, their diets will consist of a commercially available feed, which is usually a powder compromised of ants, fruits, termites and honey.  Food is estimated at $50 to $70 per month.

A large cage, along with ropes, a hammock and toys are highly recommended to ensure they live a happy and healthy life.  Anteaters will spend most of their lives in the trees, so at a minimum, a tree that they are able to climb is a must.  Whether it’s a sturdy limb or tree branches, it should be available at all times. Depending on the setup, a well-built cage with all of the necessary add-ons can easily cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

With a very low body temperature, an anteater should be kept in room-like temperature climates at all times, meaning you may need a heating or cooling element to keep the room comfortable.

As with any pet, medical expenses, both routine and unexcepted, need to be considered.  Bear in mind that is may be hard to find a vet who is willing to work with an anteater, so you may find yourself either driving long distances or paying a hefty price to have a vet visit your home.  Anteaters are prone to developing respiratory diseases, dry skin or even organ failure due to an inappropriate diet.

Tips to know:

An anteater is a long-tailed animal with an elongated skull and tubular muzzle. The anteater is found in several parts of Central and South America, including Colombia, Ecuador, Trinidad, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, and Peru, where it inhabits forests, jungles, grasslands and even the lower mountain regions.

There are different anteater species available as an exotic pet. The silky or pygmy anteater, which is very small in size, or the tamandua anteater, which are considered medium in size.  The giant, as the name implies, will be the largest option.  The silky, which is arboreal, will thrive with a lot of trees, whereas a tamandua thrives on both trees and land.  The giant anteater will thrive only on the land.

With the tail included, the average anteater measure 13 to 35 inches long and can weigh anywhere from three to 19 pounds.

The average life expectancy, even when in captivity, is about seven years.

Despite their soft appearance, the anteaters are ready to defend themselves against predators by using their large claws, spraying their anal glands and/or by making a hissing noise.

You should take your pet anteater for a walk once each day just as you would a dog. It should be on a leash, even though it is tame. They might climb trees without permission or wander off.

Anteaters are not known to be social creatures, and for this reason, it’s best you house them alone to avoid conflicts.  Pet owners often prefer purchasing an anteater when young to keep them as tame as possible.

Even if tame, anteaters are known to destroy furniture or carpet by using their claws or even urinating to mark their territory.

Their claws need to be trimmed every week.

Anteaters are known to be very demanding, often crying if you don’t pay enough attention.  If you don’t feel you can offer them the attention they desrve, then you may want to look for another pet.

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