IUCN Red List status:

Least Concern

For more info on classifications visit www.iucnredlist.org

Animal vulnerability index Animal vulnerability index

These fantastic creatures are easily recognisable with their long snout and pointy ears. Their name actually means “earthpig” in Afrikaans, as they look similar to a pig!

They have short, powerful limbs with shovel-shaped claws, making them excellent diggers. In the wild their burrows can be up to 13 metres long! They have a very strong sense of smell and excellent hearing which makes up for their relatively poor eyesight. Colourblind, their eyes have developed to give them good night vision.

They feed off ants and termites and are able to close their nostrils to stop insects crawling in. Their tough skin also protects them from getting bitten whilst they feed

Aardvarks are primarily nocturnal, spending most of their day time sleeping in their burrow. When they’re awake they’re usually solitary animals, only coming together only to mate.

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.

Aardvarks play an important role in the ecosystem because their burrows provide shelter for many other animals, from birds to reptiles and even painted dogs. They also have a symbiotic relationship with an underground fruit, meaning both species benefit. The plant depends on the aardvark digging up and eating the fruit to disperse its seeds as it can’t disperse them itself!

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cm
An aardvark tongue can be up to 30cm long!
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They can catch up to 50,000 termites in one night!
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Their burrows can be up to 13 metres long!

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