Ant bear, Earth pig, Cape anteater, Earth hog
The aardvark is a medium-sized, burrowing mammal native to Africa. This animal is easily recognizable due to its unique and unusual appearance: aardvark resembles a pig with rabbit-like ears and a kangaroo-like tail, although the animal is related neither to kangaroos nor rabbits. Instead, it is closely related to elephants. The common name of the species, 'Aardvark', originates from the Afrikaans (South African) language and means "earth pig". Aardvark has a long and sticky tongue and flexible snout. The nostrils are covered with hair in order to protect them from entering dust when digging. The skin color of aardvark varies from pale yellowish-grey to pinkish. However, due to burrowing in the soil, their skin is usually stained, typically exhibiting darker grey or reddish-brown coloration.
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by being active during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal",...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
Myrmecophagy is a feeding behavior defined by the consumption of termites or ants, particularly as pertaining to those animal species whose diets a...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
A burrow is a hole or tunnel excavated into the ground by an animal to create a space suitable for habitation, temporary refuge, or as a byproduct ...
A fossorial animal is one adapted to digging which lives primarily but not solely, underground. Some examples are badgers, naked mole-rats, clams, ...
Nomadic animals regularly move to and from the same areas within a well-defined range. Most animals travel in groups in search of better territorie...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
Aardvarks inhabit central and southern Africa (except for the Namib desert), occurring south of the Sahara Desert, from Senegal to Ethiopia and South Africa. The preferred habitat of these animals are areas of sandy soil, although they can live in very different environments such as grasslands, rainforests, savanna and woodland. On the other hand, they usually avoid very dry areas as well as rocky grounds, which are hard to dig.
These shy and solitary animals tend to socialize only when mating and caring for young. In areas, densely populated by aardvarks, 2-3 individuals may use a single, large burrow. The presence of an aardvark in the area can be detected by its tracks, burrows as well as scratch marks, left by the sharp claws of this animal. Aardvarks are night feeders. They may travel 2-5 km each night when foraging. Before foraging, they leave their den in an unusual way: they stop at the entrance of the den to check if there are enemies around; then they come out, jump around repeatedly, look around, jump once more and finally leave the den. Aardvarks are known to use grunts as a form of communication. In addition, they may bleat when threatened. These animals possess glands on their elbows and hips that can be used in mating and locating conspecifics, although they don't appear to use scent marking.
Aardvarks are polygynous, which means that one male mates with a number of females. Due to their solitary and territorial behavior, these animals socialize only when mating. In northern African populations, births usually occur in October-November, while those in South Africa produce offspring in May-July. The gestation period lasts for 7 months, yielding a single baby, which is born with open eyes and naked. The baby is born in an underground burrow, where it lives for the first several weeks of its life, feeding upon maternal milk. By 2 weeks old, the baby begins to accompany its mother. By 3 weeks old, the young aardvark starts consuming insects. It becomes independent at 6 months old, reaching reproductive maturity at 2 years of age.
Being classified as Least Concern, this species is presently not threatened. However, in some parts of its range, the animal suffers from human activities such as logging and agriculture, leading to the destruction of its natural habitat. On the other hand, the animal is hunted for its meat, while the skin, claws, and teeth of an aardvark serve as materials for bracelets, charms, and curios. And finally, burrows of these animals often damage roads, dam walls, fences and farming equipment, due to which aardvarks may come into conflict with humans and be persecuted by farmers.
According to IUCN, the aardvark is relatively common and widely distributed but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.
Aardvarks play a significant role in the local ecosystem since their burrows serve as shelters for hyenas, warthogs, squirrels, hedgehogs, mongooses, bats, birds, reptiles, and many other animals of their range.