BUENOS AIRES – An anteater attacked a young zookeeper in Argentina, ripping open the woman's abdomen and legs with its long claws and leaving her in critical condition, a doctor said Wednesday.
This female anteater apparently attacked her keeper at a Buenos Aires-area zoo to protect her offspring.
The unusual attack damaged the zookeeper's stomach, liver and lungs, said Jose Potito, director of the hospital where the woman was being treated.
"The woman's condition is very serious," Potito told local TV channel America.
Anteaters, which can measure up to 9.2 feet long and weigh as much as 110 pounds, are native to Latin America and have toothless snouts.
They are usually not aggressive, but their long, knife-like claws can do serious damage to predators when they defend themselves.
A worker at the zoo described the attack as an accident and said the animal was not punished in response.
Anteaters are endangered, according to the Argentine Wildlife Foundation, which uses the distinctive-looking animal as its symbol for protecting local species.
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