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Rodrigo’s Rehab & Release

Rodrigo is a juvenile tamandua mexicana (northern tamandua) who was rescued after he wandered into a home in Ostional. We do not know what happened to his mother, but it’s clear that he got a little lost because tamanduas are arboreal and spend most of their time in trees, not houses.

Rodrigo joined us in January 2018 and needed to grow up a little more and learn essential skills to survive in the wild before he could be released. Every day we brought him a fresh termite mount so he could practice slurping up dinner with his long, sticky tongue. Northern tamanduas are commonly known as anteaters because they specialize in eating ants and termites. They avoid ants that produce chemical defenses like leaf-cutter ants and army ants and will not eat certain soldier termites, focusing only on defenseless worker termites. Very clever!

Rodrigo had no trouble learning how to eat the termites and expertly tore apart each termite mount with his strong claws. He also enjoyed some tasty fruit that we mushed up so he could eat it without any trouble.

It didn’t take long for Rodrigo to grow and gain enough weight so that he could defend himself from predators. Within a few months he was ready to go back into the forest.

Rodrigo was released close to where he was found – but we took him to the forest and away from houses. The moment the kennel door was opened, Rodrigo ran out and was out of sight in seconds – he was very excited to get back home again!