Letter A is for Aardvarks...Learn about Them Here

Some Facts about Aardvarks

Aardvarks are rarely seen by humans because they are nocturnal animals who sleep in burrows during the day. They are found in Africa below the more northern regions of the Sahara Desert.

Aardvarks are unusual looking animals that appear as if they have been assembled by a child playing with different animal parts. They have a tail resembling a kangaroo and ears that look similar to a rabbit. They have feet that appear like those found on ducks except for the fierce looking bear like claws. Their bodies are somewhat pig like in appearance except for an elongated face that does sport a snout like those on our equine friends. Did I mention the thin tongue that can extend out to a foot or foot and a half? A peculiar looking animal to be sure!

Aardvarks

Aardvarks
Aardvarks | Source

What do aardvarks eat?

Ants and termites are their preference and those account for the majority of their diet although they are omnivorous. During the course of one night's foraging they can eat up to 50,000 insects or more! The insects are then broken down in an aardvark's stomach.

They have a terrific sense of smell and can easily find those soft bodied insects and fill their stomachs with thousands of them at one time using their long sticky tongues to scoop them up en masse.

When disturbing a termite mound or ant nest, their thick hide helps to protect them from insect bites.

How long have aardvarks been around?

Oh...about five million years...give or take!

Many species have appeared and others have become extinct in that time frame.

In a zoo setting these animals commonly live an average of around 23 years.

How long aardvarks will survive on earth is undetermined. While not yet considered endangered, their main threat at this point seems to be the loss of natural habitat where man is encroaching as human populations keep growing.

Aardvarks at Detroit Zoo

Source

View of teeth in an aardvark skull

Source

What are their defenses and who preys upon aardvarks?

Large cats like lions and leopards or even hyenas or wild dogs can occasionally take down an aardvark.

With their keen hearing ability this does not often happen because those sharp claws can dig a burrow in mere seconds for a retreat.

If they have to stand their ground, their tail can be utilized like a club and flipping over on their back those threatening claws can ward off most opponents. The thick skin of an aardvark also helps to protect it.

Some humans also prey upon these animals hunting them for its meat source as well as some body parts considered to be charms warding off illnesses.

Many more details about aardvarks in this video...

This sounds like a cute book!

The Cruise of the Aardvark
The Cruise of the Aardvark

Nash is in top form with this rollicking poem about an aardvark who takes a cruise to escape from soggy weather. Arrogant and vain, Aardvark wins few friends among the other animals squeezed aboard the crowded vessel--until he and his tongue save the day and the ark.

 

Master Builders!

The burrows or tunnels they excavate are quite large as an average aardvark can weigh up to 150 pounds or more and stands about 2 feet at the shoulders. Those temporary shelters can be between 3 to 4 feet long but the ones that they dig for breeding purposes can be in excess of 40 feet with several entrances.

Since aardvarks are somewhat nomadic, those burrows are often utilized by other animals for a shelter after being abandoned by an aardvark...so they are home builders of sorts.

Aardvarks are occasionally called earth pigs as well as other names like African ant bear.

A female usually bears only one offspring at a time and continues to nurture it up to the time that it can take care of itself in the wild. A young aardvark can dig burrows for itself by the time is is six months of age and is adult sized by the end of a year reaching sexual maturity at or around the age of two.

Does this give you something to discuss around the office water cooler or at your dinner table tonight? :))

Aardvarks

Aardvarks
Aardvarks | Source

Aardvarks

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22 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 8 days ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Patricia,

That video you included in your comment was a cute one. I used to enjoy cartoons like that when I was young. Sending good thoughts and prayers your way!


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 11 days ago from sunny Florida

These are amazing creatures...they have always fascinated me...just the name sparked curiosity. I also liked to watch the 'Aardvark and the Ant' when I was much younger and reviewing it now remember why.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZhBdnB8QAo&t=113s

Here's a little peek.

Angels are on the way this morning ps


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 8 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Kristen,

I highly doubt that you will run across any aardvarks in your path unless they escape from some zoo. Haha! Glad you enjoyed learning about them.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 8 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Shyron,

I don't think you left anything out in describing an aardvark. Ha! Enjoyed your comment. :)


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 8 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Peggy, aardvarks are fascinating and unique animals. Real interesting to learn all about them with those facts that you shared with us. I never saw one in person and wouldn't want to come across one in my path. Thanks for this hub!


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 8 months ago

Peggy, this is an amazing animal, we need them in Texas to get the fire ants. So these animals are a combination of Anteater tongue, Pig body and snout, Duck feet with Mole claws, Rabbit ears and a Kangaroo tail. Did I leave anything out?

I did enjoyed the read.

I hope all is well with you.

Blessings and Hugs always.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 8 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Bill,

I agree with you that aardvarks are certainly unique creatures. Appreciate your comment.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 8 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Au fait,

Yes, all is well here. Thanks! Nice to know that you enjoyed this article.


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 8 months ago from Massachusetts

How interesting. What a unique creature. I never realized how big they are and they sure can eat a lot of ants and termites. Thanks for the education.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 8 months ago from North Texas

An interesting animal to be sure! Great videos and well done. Sharing.

Hope all is well with you Peggy.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 8 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Frank,

Like you, I also learned more about aardvarks when writing this. They are amazing creatures.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 8 months ago from Shelton

I learned a great deal about these funny looking, but amazing critters.. thank you for sharing :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 8 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Alicia,

I will agree with you that aardvarks look a bit different. :))


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 8 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

Aardvarks look so strange! Thanks for sharing this informative and interesting hub about them. It's fun to learn about these animals.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 8 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello emge,

So glad you found this hub to your liking. Thanks for your comment.


emge profile image

emge 8 months ago from Abu Dhabi

Hi Peggy, this is a nice post. Voted up


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 8 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Jackie,

Sorry to hear that you are having an ant problem. We sometimes get 2 liter bottles of soda at our grocery store with "meal deals." Buy one product and get others for free. We do not drink soda but it makes an excellent ant killer if poured on a mound. If not giving the soda away to others who drink it, we use it in that manner in our yard. As to getting an aardvark to do that job...unlikely! :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 8 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Rachel,

Wishing you Easter blessings as well. Glad you enjoyed this hub about aardvarks.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 8 months ago from The Beautiful South

So interesting, Peggy and I loved seeing them sacked out. Guess all animals are sweet sleeping! I could sure feed one. Ants are driving me crazy and nothing completely wipes them out. Thankfully they are small but Id sure like to have an ant eater!

Shared.


Rachel L Alba profile image

Rachel L Alba 8 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

Hi Peggy, Aardvarks are strange looking indeed. lol I never realized before just what they looked like. I'm glad they are able to get away from their predators quickly enough. Thanks for sharing the information of this interesting anima.

Easter Blessings to you.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 8 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi FlourishAnyway,

The only ones I am likely to ever see will also be in zoos. Glad you liked learning about them.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

Wow! These are some fun and amazing facts, from the tongue to the tail to the claws. I don't want to run into one except at a zoo or online. Great hub!

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