Wild giant anteaters live in grasslands, deciduous forests and rain forests of South and Central America. Though most common in South America, they can be found anywhere from the southern tip of Mexico through Central and South America, as far south as Uruguay and north-
Giant anteaters forage for food in savannas, wet forests, and swamps, all places where ants and termites are plentiful. Giant anteaters are likely territorial, with their territories ranging about one square mile for adult males and about 1.5 square miles for adult females. However, these animals are wanderers and tend not to stay in one spot for long. After spending their day looking for food, they will find nightly shelter in tree bases, hollow logs or by scraping a small depression into the ground.
Giant anteaters can be found in both rural and densely populated areas. Curiously, their sleeping patterns generally depend on the human population density of the area they live in. The more populated the area, the more likely the anteaters living there will be nocturnal.
Large cats such as jaguars will hunt and kill giant anteaters, but humans are by far giant anteaters' biggest threat. Run-ins with cars can be a problem, and an even bigger concern of late has been the killing of giant anteaters for their pelts or for sport. However, human-induced habitat destruction remains the most immediate danger for giant anteaters.
The giant anteater is currently classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. It is also on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species's 2000 Redlist of Threatened Species.