Aardvarks (Orycteropus afer) comes from a word meaning ”earth pig’. Aardvarks are quite versatile in their housing choices. They can be found in all regions, from dry savannas to rain forests, where there are sufficient termites for food, access to water, and sandy or clay soil. If the soil is too hard, aardvarks, despite being speedy, powerful diggers, will move to areas where the digging is easier.
They can weigh between 88 to 143lb and are more or less 24 inches at the shoulder.
When kept in captivity they can live up to 23 years. They are least threatened according to conservationists.
- Aardvarks are the last survivors of a group of primitive ungulates. They have a short neck connected to a massive, almost hairless body with a strongly arched back. The legs are short, the hind legs longer than the front ones. The head is elongated, with a long, narrow snout and nostrils that can be sealed. The long, tubular ears are normally held upright but can be folded and closed. The short but muscular tail is cone-shaped and tapers to a point. The thick claws on the forefeet are well-adapted for digging.
Aardvarks are a little anti-social—and even inhospitable.
They are mostly solitary and nocturnal, but sometimes, they will come out during the day to sun themselves. When aardvarks sleep, they block the entrance to their burrow, leaving only a very small opening at the top, and curl into a tight ball.
Aardvarks are picky eaters.
Aardvarks are specialized for eating termites. They move from one termite mound to another, dismantling the hills with their powerful claws. Insects are trapped by the aardvark’s long, protractile tongue (as long as 12 inches), which is covered with thick, sticky saliva. Sometimes, the aardvark will press its snout against an opening in a mound and suck up the termites.