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Anteater Symbolism & Meaning

Are little problems getting on your nerves? Having trouble trusting your instincts? Anteater as a Spirit, Totem, and Power Animal can help! Anteater teaches how focus and listen to the small voice within. Delve deeply in Anteater symbolism and meaning to find out how this animal spirit guide can soothe, calm, and relax you.

Anteater Table of Contents

Anteater Symbolism & Meaning

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“Myrmecophaga jubata: The anteater. The existence of this predator demonstrates that thinking 71 percent of the time, as ants do, won’t prevent you from being eaten. Thinking less than that, as humans do, will almost guarantee it.”
– John Ralston Saul

Among the attributes of the Anteater, he can boast being a mammal with one of the longest tongues. Some 23 inches long, and a half inch wide, this tongue repeatedly beats to pick up bugs with sticky saliva. Once back in the mouth, the snacks are neatly delivered into the digestive system. Talk about sticking your tongue out.

Another unique physical peculiarity and one that defines Anteater is his nose. This part of the Anteater’s body is tubular and houses his tongue. Before gathering up prey, the Anteater uses his nose for probing termite and ant mounds. By the end of the day, our nosey friend has consumed some 30,000 insects! In considering the symbolism and meaning for Anteater, this cannot be overlooked. Anteater acts as a giant vacuum clearing away harmful “bugs.” So, what’s bugging you today?

Besides the way the Anteater uses its nose, it’s worthy of noting that he suffers attacks by his pray that contains formic acid. This causes permanent harm, yet Anteater goes on. As humans, sometimes we go looking for something and meet painful roadblocks on the way. Do you endure?

The native habitat for the Anteater is Central and South America, so it is there that we must start our search for greater understanding. Some tribes think Anteater represents solitude or being a busybody (nosiness). Perhaps this is because they appear just to be wandering around, finding periodic sleep under a shady tree. By comparison, the Mayan and Aztecs saw things a little differently. Anteater was a symbol of Divine justice.

Historically members of the Myrmecophagidae family have a long history. Fossil records indicate Anteater ancestors were hanging around some 25 million years ago. We can thank the Portuguese for Anteaters name which first appeared in the 17th century. They called it an ant trapper. Armadillo has a distant relative in the armadillo.

There are four types of Anteater, the Silky Anteater, Northern Tamandua, Giant Anteater, and Southern Tamandua. All but the Giant Anteater live in trees thanks to prehensile tails which help with climbing.

Keywords and attributes associated with Anteater Spirit include territorial, strong, slow progress, reclusiveness, protective, intuitiveness, inquisitiveness, independence, endurance, emotive, diligent, cleansing, bravery, and adaptability.

While Anteater looks soft because of koala-like fur, don’t be fooled. These creatures have long claws and strong legs that they will use to drive off predators. It doesn’t matter if it is a jaguar or a human, Anteater isn’t a cuddly sort. Don’t arrive without a proverbial invitation, and don’t try to make friends.

Egyptians depict Set, the God of Chaos, as part Anteater and part wild ass.

By the way, in the 1700s, Europeans thought that all Anteaters were females who mated with their nose.

Anteater Spirit Animal

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When Anteater moves into your awareness, it signals a time when you need to be alone. Anteaters enjoy a solitary existence. Your personal time need not be long, just long enough to get away from other people’s troubles and focus on your own. Mix and mingle another time.

Another reason Anteater Spirit Animal comes to you is as a way of encouraging you to develop your sense of smell, particularly spiritually. Did you know that auras can carry distinct odors? Places can also emit aromas that give you clues to the overall vibrations with which you are dealing. Walk a bit with Anteater down his trail and see what you sniff out.

Have you recently been put in a situation where you are on the defensive? Anteater is a great Spirit Animal ally. They do not hesitate to use all the tools at their disposal to remove an enemy or defend territory. Anteater says: What’s yours is YOURS. The only question here is to what degree you apply this response.

Anteater is attuned to our emotional nature as well as our intuitive abilities. His message to you is to stop second-guessing your gut feelings. You have a sensitive mind, and when you ignore those honest feelings, you usually end up in trouble.

Alternatively, Anteater may be nudging you toward greater independence. The future is waiting. Go out and get it!

Because Anteater Spirit Animal has poor eyesight, they rely on other senses. Here, Anteater helps in fostering your psychic gifts. Usually, it’s best to focus on one at a time as trying them all becomes overwhelming.

Is something bothering you but feel lost as to resolving it? Anteater supports your efforts and helps you clear your mind of clutter. There is a settlement on the horizon. Just stay purposeful and focused.

Anteater Totem Animal

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Those born with an Anteater Totem Animal tend to be loners. Crowds make them extremely uncomfortable as do large parties, even with people they know. Anteater Totem is fully content with themselves. Connecting with other people, however, isn’t so easy. Those with a keen intellect attract them the most.

Dating and long-term commitments come slowly for Anteater. They want the right, best person. In some ways, it’s like hunting for that last piece of a puzzle that makes it complete. Really, they often have the answer right under their nose! Those in a relationship must remember Anteaters demanding demeanor and alone time, or it will be a very unhappy connection.

If this is your Birth Totem, you have to be careful. Your vision, like Anteaters, isn’t always tuned up. As a result, you don’t notice bad behaviors until you are on the receiving end. That is when your defensive nature comes into play.

Balancing that your “Spidey senses” are pretty spot on. You usually see danger long before it arrives and prepares accordingly. Practical resourcefulness is right in your wheelhouse.

Walking with Anteater means you may be fastidious about your hygiene. Long baths are blissful. Swimming may be right up there regarding great activities.

Anteater Medicine includes a comprehension of grief and mourning. It could be the end of a job or the death of a pet, but you have distinct rituals for handling this. These provide continuity in your life.

The Anteater’s propensity for foraging comes out in interesting ways. You may spend hours at the supermarket reading price points and ingredient levels. Or, in a clothing store, hunting for that perfect bargain makes you quite happy.

You are also a professional napper. Anteater can spend upward of 15 hours a day sleeping. Now, obviously, that simply doesn’t work in the human realm. Nonetheless, if you get a chance for shuteye, you won’t pass it by.

Another characteristic you may illustrate from your Anteater Totem Animal is loving the way things feel. Your sense of touch is highly attuned. You may also find yourself being quite adept at psychometry.

Anteater Power Animal

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Call on Anteater Power Animal when:

  • Internalizing important ideas and information in a quiet place.
  • Feeling overwhelmed by the chaos around you. Anteater helps you pull away.
  • Grieving for a friend, acquaintance, and other endings.
  • Defending your proverbial territory is a necessity.
  • Seeking sustenance spiritually. You may have to dig down deep for this.
  • Nosing around for necessary information that’s currently hidden.
  • Creating cleansing spells and rituals.
  • Developing your psychic awareness and abilities.
  • Stretching your wings and becoming more independent.

World Anteater Symbolic Meanings

In South America, there are stories of the Anteater that sometimes portray him as somewhat bumbling and naive. In one tale the Anteater inhales tobacco tinkered with by their enemies. The result was an addled state of mind. This may stem from observations of the Anteater who seems to walk haphazardly about.

Ritual equipment depicting Anteater has been unearthed by archaeologists. There is a good chance that they held hallucinogens used in divination. Alternatively, they may have held substances that aid Shamanic journeying.

The Anteater’ genitals are very hard to see. This developed into thoughts or Anteater as the icon for harmony between male and female.

A Brazilian folktale explains why Deer and Jaguar don’t live together, and the role Anteater played in this event. It begins with both Deer and Jaguar hunting for a suitable home. Deer uses his horns to clear brush for the ground level of the house and then goes into the forest. Jaguar came along and saw this and felt blessed. Jaguar started flatting the ground for a floor and then went into the forest.

When Deer returned, he was in awe of the floor and felt blessed by God. He went on to make walls for the house, then returned to the forest. When Jaguar returned it all seemed so magical, and he added a roof and (as you might gather) went into the woods.

Deer saw the Roof and created two rooms. Now he slept. Jaguar saw the two rooms, taking the second for the night. Upon rising both were surprised to see each other. Jaguar and Deer both thought this was their home. So, for a while, they lived together peacefully.

One day Jaguar was hungry and instructed Deer to make a fire and a pot of water. Jaguar found a Deer, carrying back to the house. Deer was incredibly sad about seeing this and went to bed without eating. Sleep was not coming as Deer feared Jaguar would eat him.

The next day Deer turned the tables looking for a Jaguar. He then enlisted the Anteater for aid. Deer said that Jaguar spoke ill of the Anteater. Upon hearing that he attacked the Jaguar and killed him. Jaguar saw this and felt afraid.

Come the next day Deer and Jaguar were frightened of each other. The Deer knocked the walls with his antlers, and Jaguar screamed. Both thought the other was about to kill. They both made haste from the house going different directions, and these two animals never lived together again.

One wonders if perhaps Anteater found the home and used it. The one thing we know for sure is going into the forest is not a good idea when building a house!

Giant Anteater: The Giant Anteater also has the folk name of “ant bear.” While classified with sloths the sheer size of this Anteater sets him apart from the others. This mammoth stretches some 6-7 feet long.

In the Amazon, Basin Anteater has a reputation for being a trickster and comic relief. Once Anteater challenged Jaguar to contest. They would find out who could hold their breath longer. Both removed their pelts and slipped under the water. Anteater decided to leap out of the water and snatch Jaguar’s pelt, leaving him with that of the Anteater, which was likely quite embarrassing to that Jaguar.

When Jaguar emerged from the water, he saw what Anteater had done. He angrily donned the Anteater’s pelt to chase after him. He tried without success and Jaguar, and Anteater remains enemies.

Yarabara rituals include wearing Anteater masks for naming and initiation proceedings. Bribri people regard them as omens of death, but the Anteater also carries souls to heaven.

Anteater Dreams

The anteater has several potential dream interpretations including:

  • Anteater comes as a warning that you shouldn’t just jump into any agreements or new projects. Go slow and do it right.
  • An Anteater looking for food speak of things that undermine your sense of self. Something is bugging you, so flesh it out.
  • Should the Anteater dig and dig and dig in the ground, pay attention. The wisdom of your ancestors is reaching out to you with a lesson.
  • When Anteater finds no food, it represents some type of search that could bring harm. Move carefully.
  • If the Anteater has a fully grey coat, it denotes struggling with your own mortality. Embrace aging and the wisdom that comes with it.
  • A resting Anteater could be interpreted one of two ways. Either you are very lackadaisical or that you need a “time out” for resting.
  • Two Anteaters in your dream portend love on the horizon.
  • When the Anteater is outside their natural habitat, this dream indicates that you likewise need to get out and socialize more.
  • An Anteater eating and then taking a nap implies you are in harmony with nature.
  • Seeing an Anteater at the zoo signifies something that holds you, prisoner. This could be an emotion, a concept or even an addiction. No matter the situation, find the key that releases you.

Far Eastern Anteater Symbolic Meanings

Chinese myth mentions Anteater in relation to Lei Chen Tzu, the son of the Thunder Dragon. His egg lay on the earth when lightning struck it. He stepped out of the shell as a human but then transformed into a green dragon bearing boars’ tusks and the snout of Anteater. It is said he was eventually adopted by Wen Wang, the God of Literature. Lei Chen Tzu became a hero with many marvelous adventures ahead.

Anteater Symbolic Meanings Key

  • Bravery
  • Diligent
  • Emotive
  • Endurance
  • Independence
  • Inquisitiveness
  • Intuition
  • Protection
  • Reclusive
  • Slow Progress

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