The Aardvark, an amazing array of animal curiosity. This clumsy looking mammal is a burrowing, snuffling, ant-eating machine.
Seemingly having stolen parts of other animals to create its unique appearance; it has a pig-like snout, but longer to be able to poke it down holes to reach hiding insects, big ears not unlike a rabbit, and a tail which resembles that of a kangaroo. This oddity is intriguing to look at and has earned a role in the culture of the places where it lives. Here’s 21 fun facts about aardvarks…
Its name is Afrikaans and comes from the word “erdvark” meaning “earth/ground pig”.
The Aardvark is an afrothere and it shares a common ancestor with elephants and manatees, among others.
Genetically, it is a living fossil with conserved chromosomes which reflect a lack of much evolution in the aardvark.
Five million year old physical fossils of the aardvark have been found and dated, located in Europe and the Near East, it is the only living animal of the Tubulidentata and they are not even remotely related to any other mammals currently living.
Today aardvarks can be found only in Sub-Saharan Africa where they need habitats full of the food that they eat, so grasslands and bushlands with lots of bugs readily available and soil that they are able to burrow in.
They are nocturnal so escape the heat of the day in their burrows and come out to hunt at night.
They are very picky eaters which greatly affects where they live, they need ants and termites and will roam far and wide to find them.
For extra hydration, they eat the aardvark cucumber, when they can find it. They have a symbiotic relationship, the aardvark is able to fertilise the seeds while they are in its digestive tract which can then thrive when the aardvark poops them out.
The aardvark can ingest as many as 50,000 insects per night with its long sticky tongue which can be up to 30cm long, and is known to avoid revisiting insect nests to allow them to recover and reproduce.
Looks wise, it’s not the cutest. Arched back, and sparsely haired, its feet are a mix of hoof, claw and spade, it can grow to over 2 meters in length, including the tail, and has strong limbs for digging and self defense when needed.
It also has very strong, thick skin to protect itself.
Though not fluffy in any way, with tufts of coarse hair here and there, it does have very thick nose hair so that it can filter out soil and dirt while digging.
Its rabbity ears can detect predators such as lions, hyenas and snakes, and it usually decides to flee by burrowing surprisingly rapidly. However when pressed it can become quite aggressive and fights back with its strong limbs and claws.
A female aardvark is a sow, and the baby is a cub.
The aardvark is solitary by nature but the rare sight of a group of aardvarks is called an armoury.
In the Canadian-American childrens’ TV series Arthur, the main character is an anthropomorphic, third-grade attending brown aardvark.
Rarely in the English language does the letter ‘A’ get doubled, only appearing in a few exceptions, this means that Aardvark is among the first words in any English dictionary.
If you are born under the Aardvark, during the Chinese Zodiac’s Year of the Rat and under the Capricorn zodiac sign, then you should be independent, ambitious, and believe that success comes before all other things.
The Aardvark is a talented swimmer as well as digger, and can battle strong currents effortlessly.
In African lore the aardvark is known for its admirable work ethic reflected in its hunting methods and fearlessness.
Some tribes make charms from its teeth for good luck, or from other various parts such as its heart and nails to make a charm that is said to allow the wearer to pass through walls, most commonly used by burglars or forbidden lovers.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about the Aardvark that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!