Monday, January 7, 2013

When Anteaters Attack

There we were, sound asleep around midnight Sunday. We heard Sam and Tanya bark, but didn’t think much of it. As our trusty guard dogs, they’re very good about letting us know if they think something is amiss in the yard.

We no sooner rolled back over, when all hell broke loose. In just a matter of seconds, the barking escalated and the sounds of some animal in pain echoed through the yard. David jumped up, threw on some clothes, grabbed the machete and a flashlight, and raced out of the house.

He reached the dogs, who were by the side gate, and saw Sam being attacked by some long-snouted animal. David came charging back to the house, grabbed Sam’s leash and somehow managed to get Sam tethered when the animal in question broke its grip on Sam’s face.

In the meantime, I put Bronte and Olivia in the bedroom, started turning on lights, and grabbing towels because David had yelled that it looked like Sam was bleeding.

When David got Sam into the house, there was blood dripping from his ear, face, and mouth. He was panting so hard, it took some time to get him calm enough to examine his wounds and get him to drink some water. David’s breathing and heart rate were spiked as well, as you might imagine. When his blood pressure came down enough, I asked what the heck he thought was the attack animal. He said that it reminded him of an anteater, just smaller. Presuming that my dearly beloved was still jacked on adrenaline, I just said, “uh, huh” and continued my examination of Sam.

The poor dog had puncture wounds all over his face and shoulders and his ear was badly gashed.  
Results of anteater attack
He also reeked to high heaven with a smell similar to having been sprayed by a skunk. However, after a bit of time, the cuts started to coagulate and the bleeding wasn’t so severe. While I got him settled on the porch, David was surfing the Web trying to identify what kind of animal we had in the yard.

Turns out it was this:


A Collared Anteater or Tamandua. What do you know? You can read all about them here, but the upshot is that while they have no teeth, they have very long, sharp claws. They also will spray their opponents, much like a skunk. As their name suggests, they eat ants and termites and often hang out in trees. This one must have come down from one of the palms when Sam discovered him. Probably they both scared each other and the fight ensued. Tanya, our other adopted dog who is about 10 years old and arthritic, managed not sustain any injuries but lent her bark to let Sam know she had his back.
Now I don’t know about any of you, but I never knew anteaters lived in Belize. Possums? Yep. Armadillos, crocodiles, and tarantulas? Sure. Nor have I ever had to call the vet to make an appointment for my dog being attacked by one. Dr. Sheila didn’t skip a beat when I got in touch with her. Just another anteater incident and typical day at the office for her. She gave Sam the once over, checked his weight,  gave him a shot, and provided a week’s worth of antibiotics. Her cost: $18 BZD or $9 USD. Once the swelling in his face goes down, hopefully in another few days, and his cuts start healing up, we can gently clean his wounds with soap and water.

Anteaters. In our yard. Attacking the dog. Still trying to wrap my head around that one.


  1. You guys always have the most interesting posts. I'm envious... Well, not of Sam's injuries or David's BP spike event, but the rest, sure.
    Like you, I didn't even know we had the critters here. Geez, if he hired out, he could make a fortune - and all the ant's he could eat. Such a deal. I'd hire him in a heartbeat (so to speak).
    I'll definitely keep an eye peeled for this critter.

  2. Glad we're not the only ones surprised that anteaters are alive and well in Corozal. But wouldn't you know it? They apparently won't eat those pesky fire ants we all have or the big army ants. If they consumed those, I may actually develop a soft spot for them, in spite of what happened to Sam.