Published on February 25, 2014
AARDVARKS (ORYCTEROPUS AFER)
HABITAT Aardvarks live in Africa, south of the Saharan Desert. Their natural habitat is the dry savanna.
DIET Aardvarks are omnivores. They eat both plants and other animals (mostly bugs). It specializes in eating termites. Its long snout was made to press against termite mounds and suck up the termites. Its tongue is 12 inches long (1 foot), which makes it easier to reach into the mound. They will also dig into the mound if they have to, sometimes digging as fast as two feet per 15 seconds.
DO THEY TRAVEL IN PACKS? No, most of the time, aardvarks travel alone. When they aren’t alone it is usually because they are travelling with their family (their mate and/or their child)
OFFSPRING An aardvark can only have one offspring per year. They carry their babies for about 7 months before they are born.
BEHAVIOR Aardvarks are generally antisocial. They are also nocturnal, but will come out in the day. Their sleeping habits include blocking the entrance to their burrow and curling into a ball.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS Hairless with arched back and short neck. Short legs with the front legs being shorter than the back legs The head is elongated with a long nose. The nostrils can be sealed. Long tubular ears, which may or may not stand upright. Thick claws on forefeet, meant for digging. Short, muscular tail which tapers to a point. Weighs 88 to 143 pounds.
LIFESPAN Aardvarks live up to 23 years, on average, in captivity. Many will live less time in the wild due to predators.
PREDATORS Their top predators are human. Others include lions, leopards, hyenas and pythons
OTHER DANGERS TO THE AARDVARK They are hunted by many African tribes for meat. Some tribes believe the teeth from an aardvark prevent illness. As humans grow and expand across the world, many animals, like the aardvark will lose their habitats.
RANDOM FACTS They can suck up over 50,000 insects in one sitting Its common names are: Antbear, anteater, cape anteater, earth hog, and earth pig The term “aardvark” actually comes from the African language, Afrikaans, meaning “earth pig”. It has no relation to the common farm pig. Male aardvarks can grow to weigh as much as a fully grown man.
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