Learn Some Facts About Peculiar Looking Aardvarks 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 at Detroit Zoo
What do Aardvarks Eat?
Ants and termites are their preference and those account for the majority of their diet although they are omnivorous. When foraging during the course of only one night 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.
Photo of an aardvark skull
How Long have Aardvarks Existed?
About five million years is the answer give or take!
Many other 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.
Look at those cuties!
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.
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.
- They reach 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? (Smile)
Did you learn anything new about aardvarks?
© 2016 Peggy Woods