Animal Behavior and Cognition (Aug 2014)

Spatial Memory in Captive Giant Anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)

  • Stephanie M. Allard,
  • Julie L. Earles,
  • Leilani DesFosses

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 1, no. 3
pp. 331 – 340


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The type of learning exhibited during foraging has been studied in a large number of species. Species that feed on food sources that temporally vary in quality could be well suited for exhibiting evidence of spatial learning. The foraging strategies of captive giant anteaters were examined using an experimental foraging task. Two giant anteaters were exposed to a modified radial arm maze in order to determine whether or not they would demonstrate evidence of spatial learning. Both subjects demonstrated significant improvement in performance by visiting baited feeders more consistently across learning trials. A disruption in performance occurred when the task was reversed, indicating that giant anteaters may use spatial learning to locate food sources. Obtaining a more sound understanding of the cognitive abilities of giant anteaters may help to enhance their welfare in captive settings.