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Learn Some Facts About Peculiar Looking Aardvarks Here

Updated on March 20, 2018
Peggy W profile image

Learning about the fellow creatures that share the planet with us is always of interest to me.


Aardvarks | Source

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

View of teeth in an aardvark skull
View of teeth in an aardvark skull | Source

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!

Aardvarks | 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.

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.
  • 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?

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© 2016 Peggy Woods


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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Patricia,

      I remember the cartoon with the Aardvark and the Ant. It is cute as most of those Pink Panther ones were. Thanks!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 months ago from sunny Florida

      This little guy (and not always so little) is quite an interesting creature. I have been fascinated by them for many years... They have been well equipped to survive in the wild. I have to tell you that my interest in them was brought on by a cartoon...yes...a cartoon. On the Pink Panther cartoon series there was a cartoon that was titled, I believe, The Aardvark and the Ant and it was so cute.. I hope you can view hyperlink capacity has failed. Angels are on the way Peggy.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Roberta,

      Sorry to hear that your area is overrun by ants. Good luck on acquiring an aardvark to do the job. Ha Ha! I guess you had best rely upon other methods to combat the ants.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 months ago from the short journey

      I've always thought these creatures were so ugly they were cute, and now I want a few as our area is overrun by a variety of ants. Thanks for a neat look at a well-designed work horse (even though they sort of look a bit scary).

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 15 months ago from Houston, Texas

      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

      Patricia Scott 16 months 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.

      Here's a little peek.

      Angels are on the way this morning ps

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 23 months ago from Houston, Texas

      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 Woods 23 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Shyron,

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

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 23 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 23 months ago from Texas

      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 Woods 23 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

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

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 23 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

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

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 23 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

      C E Clark 23 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 Woods 24 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Frank,

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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 24 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 Woods 24 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Alicia,

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

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 24 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 Woods 24 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello emge,

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

    • emge profile image

      Madan 2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Hi Peggy, this is a nice post. Voted up

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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 Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rachel,

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

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years 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!


    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years 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 Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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 2 years 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!