These fantastic creatures are easily recognisable with their long snout and pointy ears. Their name actually means 'earthpig' in Afrikaans, even though they only look vaguely similar to a pig.

They have short, powerful limbs with shovel-shaped claws, which allow aardvarks to dig efficiently. In the wild their burrows can be up to 13 metres long and often used by other animals too!

Aardvarks are primarily nocturnal, spending most of their day time sleeping in their burrow. When they're awake they're usually solitary animals and are not often seen in company of others.

They mainly eat insects (particularly ants and termites) and they actively look for food at night by travelling in a zigzag path, and can collect up to 50,000 insects each night with their sticky tongue.

Females have a single birth after a gestation period of seven to nine months. For the first two weeks, the young remains in the burrow. It can dig for itself at the age of six months, and will reach the size of an adult by twelve months.

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Interesting facts

Where they live: Africa

Habitat: Grasslands, all savanna types, rainforests, woodlands, thickets

Size: total length of 140-220cm, tail length of 44-71cm

Weight: 40-100kg

Threats: Threatened by habitat loss due to agriculture and hunting

Scientific Name: Orycteropus afer