Aardvarks are burrowing mammals with porcine snouts that use their long noses and keen sense of smell to sniff out ants and termites. They dig underground burrows recycled by other animals, including reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds.
They live in many types of habitats throughout Africa, including grasslands, savannas, rainforests, woodlands, and thickets.
- They are also known as earth pigs
- Their average life span is 23 years
- Female aardvarks have one baby a year
- Aardvarks are mostly active at night
- They have long sticky tongues
Aardvark Classification and Evolution
Aardvarks are small pig-like mammals that live in underground burrows to protect themselves from the heat of the African sun. They are unique among animals as they are the only surviving species in their animal family.
They can live for up to 23 years in captivity and are capable of causing substantial damage to unprotected areas of an attacker. They can also dig extremely quickly when pressed.
Aardvark Anatomy and Appearance
Aardvarks are unique amongst mammals as they have a medium-sized, almost hairless body, long snout, thick skin, tubular, rabbit-like ears, strong claws on each of their spade-like feet, and an excellent sense of smell.
They are vaguely pig-like in appearance, have a stout body and prominently arched back, and are sparsely covered with coarse hairs. Its body is covered with an endosteal tissue called compacted coarse cancellous bone (CCCB), which allows it to create burrows.
Aardvark Distribution and Habitat
Aardvarks can be found in a wide variety of habitats throughout sub-Saharan Africa but need good soil to dig their extensive burrows.
They are found in sub-Saharan Africa and spend daylight hours in dark burrows to avoid the day’s heat. They avoid rocky terrain enough as this can cause problems with digging.
Aardvark Behaviour and Lifestyle
Aardvarks are solitary animals that only come together to mate. They live in underground burrows that protect them from the hot daytime sun and predators, and they travel several miles searching for food and water.
Under the cover of night, aardvarks dig termite mounds with their powerful front legs and take up an astonishing number of insects with their long, sticky tongue. Other animals visit the termite nest to pick up the leftovers.
Aardvark Reproduction and Life Cycles
Every year, there are certain times when aardvarks can mate, and the females usually only have one baby after a pregnancy that lasts about 7 months. Until they are six months old, baby aardvarks live in their mother’s burrow.
Aardvark Diet and Prey
Aardvarks are insectivores and eat termites, beetles, and insect larvae. They have columnar cheek teeth that serve no functional purpose and can break into underground ant nests using their strong limbs and claws.
The aardvark cucumber is the only fruit that an aardvark will eat.
Aardvark Interesting Facts and Features
Aardvarks spend the daytime hours hidden in their underground burrows and only emerge at night to hunt for food. They are becoming increasingly affected by expanding human populations.
The aardvark has a thin coat, and its tough skin is its main defense.
Aardvark Conservation Status and Life Today
The IUCN says that aardvarks are a species that is not in danger. But in some countries, their numbers are going down, and the loss of their habitat is making things worse.
Aardvarks are classified as omnivores, meaning they consume plants and other animals in their diet. They live in Africa, are in the order of Tubulidentata, and have an osteoderm-like skeleton that protects their bodies.
Aardvark FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Are Aardvarks herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?
The answer is “Aardvark is omnivorous.” This is because they eat plants, insects, and other animals.
They also have a digestive system that allows them to break down plant matter into usable nutrients.
How fast is an Aardvark?
Aardvarks are capable of reaching top speeds of up to 25 kilometers per hour.
Do People Eat Aardvark?
People hunt this animal for its flesh and occasionally utilize its body parts as charms; for example, it is widely believed that the teeth can ward against disease. In the wild, it is preyed upon by a variety of other species, including lions, hyenas, and leopards.
Is Aardvark a Rodent?
Aardvarks are mammals that appear to be pieced together from other species’ components. Aardvarks have a long pig-like snout, ears equivalent to a rabbit’s, and a tail comparable to a kangaroo’s.