Aardvark is a nocturnal mammal that is found throughout Africa. Mainly, this animal species can be found in the sub-Saharan areas of the continent. A medium-sized burrowing animal, it prefers to reside in openwoodlands, grasslands, and savannas, with soft or sandy soils. The animal is mostly located in areas where termites can be found, on which it tends to feed. Aardvark species is known to be the only one in its order. These animals sleep in their temporary burrows, during the daytime. Their breeding burrows are more permanent in nature, surviving for long. Aardwolves, crocodiles, pythons, porcupines, and various other small mammals are known to take over the abandoned burrows. Read on to know some interesting facts and amazing information on aardvarks.
Facts About Aardvark
Species: O. afer
Height: 1-2.2 meters
Weight: 40-65 kg
Lifespan: 10 years in captivity
Diet: Insects and termites
Habitat: woodlands and grasslands
Age of Sexual Maturity:
Gestation Period: 7 months
Number of Offspring: One
Interesting & Amazing Information On Aardvarks
- The name ‘aardvark’ means ‘earth pig’, though the species is not even remotely related with pigs. The animal has a bulky body, with a humped back, which is similar to that of a rodent, with much less hair.
- Aardvark’s head is long and narrow, shaping a tubular snout in the end. It has very long ears, which can move independently of each other. Its mouth has 20 teeth, located near the back of the jaws. An aardvark’s teeth grow continuously, without any roots and enamel.
- Another distinct feature of the animal is its long tongue, which is 1.5 ft long, apart from being thin and sticky. This allows the animal to slip its tongue between the holes in termite nests and lap up the insects.
- In the dry season, an aardvark mainly feeds on termites, while it survives on ants and other soft-bodied insects in the rainy season. The animal travels long distances to forage in night. Once it finds a termite nest, it keeps on feeding on the same, for many nights.
- Aardvarks have a number of natural enemies, such as dogs, pythons, cheetahs, leopards, lions, and rattles. Young aardvarks can be consumed by warthogs as well. They are also vulnerable to human predators. However, aardvarks defend themselves with their tail and long claws, which make them fierce fighters.
- Though aardvarks mostly remain silent, they are known to squeal, similar to the way pigs do, when disturbed due to any reason. They are known to be solitary creatures.
- The eyesight of aardvarks is poor in daylight, though their sense of smell and hearing is good. These animals have a clumsy walk, but they can run very fast when required. Once they are halfway down their burrow, it is next to impossible to pull them out.
- The breeding habits of aardvark are not known in detail. The young ones are born in the months of October and November and weight around 4-5 lbs at the time of birth. The young aardvark stays in the burrow for 2 weeks, after which it begins to venture out.