Can move up to 2ft of soil in just 15 seconds!
Aardvark Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Orycteropus afer
Aardvark Physical Characteristics
Brown, Grey, Yellow
23 years
Top speed
25 mph
60kg – 80kg (130lbs – 180lbs)
Aardvark Distribition

Aardvark Classification and Evolution

Aardvarks are small pig-like mammals which are observed inhabiting an extensive variety of various habitats in the course of Africa, south of the Sahara. They are in general solitary and spend their days sound asleep in underground burrows to defend them from the warmth of the African solar, rising with inside the cooler night to look for meals. Their call originates from the Afrikaans language in South Africa and method Earth Pig, because of their lengthy snout and pig-like body. Aardvarks are precise amongst animals as they may be the best surviving species of their animal family. Until lately it turned into broadly believed that they had been maximum intently associated with different insectivores along with armadillos and pangolins, however this isn’t always the case with their closest residing family certainly idea to be elephants.

Aardvark Anatomy and Appearance

Aardvarks have a completely unique look amongst mammals (and certainly all animals) as they show bodily traits of some exclusive animal species. They have medium-sized, nearly hairless our bodies and lengthy snouts that cause them to appearance exceptionally pig-like at first, with thick pores and skin that each protects them from the new solar and additionally from being harmed with the aid of using insect bites. They are capable of near their nostrils to prevent dirt and bugs from getting into their nose. Furthermore, they have tubular, rabbit-like ears which can stand to give up, however also can be folded flat to save you dust from getting into them whilst they may be underground. Aardvarks have sturdy, claws on every in their spade-like toes that, alongside the truth that their hind legs are longer than they’re the front legs, makes them sturdy and successful diggers capable of excavate tremendous quantities of earth at an alarming rate. Due to the truth that they spend maximum of their lives underground or out searching with inside the parish at nighttime, they have got terrible eyesight however are capable of without difficulty navigate their surrounding in the use of their splendid experience of scent to each discover prey and to experience capacity danger.

Aardvark Distribution and Habitat

Aardvarks are observed in an extensive range of various habitats in the course of sub-Saharan Africa, from dry deserts to the wet rainforest areas. The best stipulation (apart from having appropriate get entry to lots of meals and water) is to have appropriate soil wherein they could dig their substantial burrows. Despite being fantastically professional at digging in sandy or clay soil types, rockier areas show greater of an undertaking to create their underground houses, so the aardvark will pass to any other location in which soil situations are higher ideal to digging. Their burrows may be up to ten meters (33 ft) lengthy in a domestic variety that may be everywhere from 2 to five kilometers square. Their burrows frequently having a couple of entrances and are continually left head first, so they may be capable of pick out capacity predators without difficulty in the use of their eager experience of scent.

Aardvark Behavior and Lifestyle

Aardvarks are specifically solitary animals that come collectively best to mate and are in no way observed in huge groups. They stay in underground burrows to defend them each from the new daylight hours solar and from predators. Aardvarks are nocturnal mammals, best leaving the protection of the burrow below the duvet of nighttime after they cross on the lookout for meals and water, frequently journeying numerous miles on the way to discover the largest termite mounds guided with the aid of using their splendid listening to and experience of scent. Despite frequently having a huge burrow produced from an in depth community of tunnels, aardvarks also are acknowledged that allows you to quickly excavate small transient burrows in which they could defend themselves quick as opposed to having to go back to their unique dwelling.

Aardvark Reproduction and Life Cycles

Aardvarks have particular mating seasons that arise each year. Depending on the place wherein the aardvark lives, younger may be born both in October to November, or May to June in different regions. Known to have infants maximum years, lady aardvarks supply beginning to an unmarried offspring after a gestation length that typically lasts for round 7 months. Newborn aardvarks frequently weigh as low as 2 kg and are born with hairless, purple pores and skin with inside the protection of their mom’s burrow. Baby aardvarks spend the primary weeks of their lives with inside the protection of the underground burrow, earlier than starting to assignment out with their mom below the duvet of nighttime. However, notwithstanding accompanying their mom on the lookout for meals, they aren’t weaned till they may be round 3 months vintage. Young aardvarks stay with their mom in her burrow till they may be round six months vintage, after they pass out to dig a burrow in their own. Although their lifespan with inside the wild isn’t always absolutely clear, aardvarks have a tendency to stay for greater than twenty years in captivity.

Aardvark Diet and Prey

The eating regimen of aardvarks is specifically produced from ants and termites, with termites being their desired meals source. Despite this, though, they may be acknowledged to additionally devour different bugs along with beetles and bug larvae. Aardvarks are constructed to be insectivores, with sturdy limbs and claws which are able to breaking into the more difficult outer shell of termite mounds very efficiently. Once they have got damaged into the mound, they then use their lengthy, sticky tongue to reap the bug’s inner and devour them complete without chewing as they may be then floor down of their muscular stomachs. One of the aardvarks maximum different functions is the truth that they’ve columnar cheek-tooth that serve no useful cause at all. With a few large ant species that want to be chewed, they use the incisors which are placed closer to the lower back in their mouths. Aardvarks are also capable to use the identical strategies to interrupt into underground ant nests.

Aardvark Predators and Threats

Despite the truth that aardvarks are nocturnal animals that stay with inside the protection of underground burrows, they may be threatened with the aid of using some of the exclusive predators in the course of their herbal environment. Lions, leopards, hyenas and huge snakes (maximum considerably pythons) are the primary predators of aardvarks, however this does range relying on in which the aardvark lives. Their important shape of defense is to get away in no time underground, but, they may be additionally acknowledged to be pretty competitive whilst threatened with the aid of using those large animals. Aardvarks use their sturdy, sharp claws to attempt to injure their attacker, alongside kicking the threatening animal with their effective lower back legs. Aardvarks are also threatened with the aid of using people who hunt them and spoil their herbal habitats.

Aardvark Interesting Facts and Features

Aardvarks use their lengthy, sticky tongue to lap as much as 50,000 bugs a nighttime from inner termite mounds or underground ant nests. Their worm-like tongues can certainly develop as much as 30 cm in duration, which means they could attain greater termites in addition into the mound. Their love of bugs has certainly led to aardvarks additionally being called Antares! Interestingly enough, aardvarks also are idea to get nearly all the moisture they want from their prey, which means that they certainly should bodily drink little or no water. Aardvarks are idea to be one of the world’s maximum prolific diggers with their sturdy limbs and claws and shovel-like toes supporting them that allows you to shift 2ft of soil in only 15 seconds!

Aardvark Relationship with Humans

Due to the truth that they spend the daylight hours hidden with inside the protection of their underground burrows, best rising below the duvet of nighttime to seek for meals, aardvarks are very seldom visible with the aid of using many humans. In a few areas, though, they may be hunted with the aid of using humans for meals and have become more and more laid low with increasing human populations as greater of their herbal habitats disappear to make manner for developing settlements.

Aardvark Conservation Status and Life Today

Today, aardvarks are indexed with the aid of using the IUCN as a species this is of The Least Concern. Despite the truth that populace numbers of aardvarks maximum sincerely declined in a few countries, in others, their numbers stay strong, and they may be frequently typically observed in each blanketed regions and areas with appropriate habitats. They are but turning into more and more laid low with habitat loss in each in the shape of deforestation and increasing cities and villages. Due to their tremendously elusive nature, precise populace sizes aren’t completely understood.


  1. National Geographic, Available here: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/a/aardvark/
  2. African Wildlife Foundation, Available here: http://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/aardvark
  3. IUCN Red List, Available here: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/41504/0
  4. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2011) Animal, The Definitive Visual Guide To The World’s Wildlife
  5. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals
  6. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia
  7. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species
  8. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals
  9. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals
  10. David W. Macdonald, Oxford University Press (2010) The Encyclopedia Of Mammals

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