By Joy H. Montgomery, Animal Planet
It’s always chow time in the animal kingdom, and while some creatures just devour whatever they kill, others take a little more time to prepare a meal. In fact, some of their routines are very similar to the cooking techniques humans use. Although food processers, knives, blenders and canning tools aren’t in an animal’s culinary repertoire, they do employ some rather ingenious methods that seem to work just as well. From a bird that kabobs its food to one that has a very interesting food preservation technique, here are 10 of the most unusual animal gourmets, who prove they’re executive chefs in their own ways.
10. Giant Anteater
Although they might seem like vacuum cleaners, collecting ants like crumbs with one big sniff of their snout, it’s not quite that easy for giant anteaters. To capture a meal, first these mammals use their large claws to open a colony or tree trunk. From there, they must act quickly, because the tiny insects they’re feasting on don’t go down without a fight and could sting them.
What look like really long noses are actually anteaters’ jaws, so they aren’t snorting ants at all. Instead, they use their long tongues to collect their meals. According to the Smithsonian National Zoo (SNZ), giant anteaters’ tongues are 2 feet (.6 meters) long and their saliva acts as glue, which makes it easy to gather up their tiny victims quickly. Instead of teeth, anteaters have hard growths on the inside of their mouths that act like food processors, crushing insects as they are consumed. SNZ also reports some anteaters have been known to swallow small stones that continue the crushing process in their stomachs. At one sitting, giant anteaters can eat a few thousand insects within minutes, so they need all the kitchen aid they can get.