Anteater kills zookeeper

Abdomen ripped open in 'unusual' attack

An Argentinian zookeeper has died as a result of an anteater attack, Reuters reports.

Melisa Casco, 19, died following an operation to amputate one of her legs. She worked as at Florencio Varela zoo outside Buenos Aires as "part of a conservation and reproduction project involving endangered giant anteaters".

The "unusual" assault - in which the animal ripped open the woman's abdomen and caused damage to her liver, lungs and stomach - was apparently provoked by the creature's instinct to protect its young, although this has not been confirmed. Although the anteater is "usually not aggressive", its claws can cause serious damage if used in self-defence.

A worker at the zoo said the attack was an "accident", and therefore the anteater was not "punished in response". ®

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Anteaters can grow to almost three metres in length and weigh up to 50kg. They are, the Argentine Wildlife Foundation notes, "endangered".

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