The Aardvarks is a strange-looking animal. It looks a bit like a pig. It has a tale that will remind you of a kangaroo, with ears that look like rabbit ears.
The funny thing is that one of its closest relatives is the elephant. They have webbed feet like a duck and snout-like a pig.
Their hind legs are longer than the front legs, and with powerful spade-shaped feet that help with digging, they are very distinctive-looking animals.
They are timid creatures, and it’s rare to see them in the wild. Some African tribes will use some of the aardvark body parts in their rituals or as food in their diet.
In Afrikan, Aardvark means ‘earth pig’ or ‘ground pig.’ Some other names you may have come across are ‘antbears,’ ‘anteaters,’ ‘Cape anteater,’ and ‘earth hogs.’
Where do Aardvarks live?
Aardvarks are fierce, robust mammals that are found in sub-Saharan Africa. They have many different types of habitats, including bushland, savannahs, and Greenland, and they have also been spotted in mountain ranges.
As they are nocturnal during the day, they sleep in underground burrows, only coming out at night to feed.
They dig two types of burrows :
Temporary burrows: These shallow underground burrows, usually about 10 feet long, are for sheltering from potential predators at night when they are out searching for food. They are also quickly abandoned, and other animals will use them for shelter.
Bigger burrows: These are used more permanently for mating and raising a family. Typically they are bigger (about 40 feet long) and can also have a couple of entrances and exits.
What do Aardvarks eat?
Aardvarks sticky tongue is used for catching ants and termites. They are known to eat around 50,000 in one night.
Because of the unique structure of their mouth and teeth, aardvarks swallow their food whole. Their stomach muscles chew the food, which turns it into a digestible form.
Termites do bite Aardvarks, but they have tough skin which helps protects them.
Do Aardvarks have predators?
Yes, they have many different predators that hunt them, such as pythons, hunting dogs, leopards, lions, and hyenas.
Aardvarks are very alert and have excellent hearing that helps them detect approaching danger. They can protect themselves using their claws if needed. Should they need to escape, they can run fast in a zigzag, dig a temporary burrow quickly, and hide.
Aardvark Facts for Kids
- Aardvark is a mammal found in Africa
- Aardvarks can live for up to 23 years
- Aardvarks are sometimes called “African Antbears.”
- The name “aardvark” means “earth pig.”
- They can grow to a length of about 6 feet (1.8 meters).
- Aardvarks use their big claws to dig holes
- They are most active at night
- They have sticky tongues, which helps them catch termites and bugs.
- Aardvarks use their senses of smell and sound to find insects.
- Female aardvarks give birth to one baby at a time