Unusual features/differences from similar
snout is long and pig-like with slit-shaped nostrils. The ears are long with pointed tips. Teeth are a row of cylindrical molars and premolars.
Females are smaller than males
Widely distributed, the main requirement being ants and termites for food.
Mostly ants and termites and sometimes other insects.
More ants are eaten in the winter and more termites are eaten in summer. Also eats the fruit of aardvark pumpkins (Cucumis
humifructus) which is borne underground.
Gestation is 7 months. Single young (sometimes
twins) are born May-August which go with the mother as early as two weeks old.
eats solid food at 14 weeks and are weaned at 16 weeks. Young start digging for its
own food at 6 months. Antbears are fully grown at
12 months and reach sexual maturity at 2 years old. Maximum age is about 25 years
old. Pythons take young. It is reported that the meat is tasty and
it is popular as food for humans. San bushmen hunt them and the Shona people of
Zimbabwe use body parts for ritual sacrifice, also traditional charms and medicines.
Behavior and Habits
Active at night and solitary. Burrows
used for a few days at a time and possibly returned to later. Large tunnel
systems with several entrances and extending 6m down into the soil are used
regularly. A meter of tunnel can be dug in 5 minutes and once inside, the aardvark blocks it up with soil
behind him. They mark their territories with an anal gland secretion and
buries its dung. They can cover as much as 30 km in a single night's search for
and termite nests are detected by the acute sense of smell and clawed open with the powerful front claws. The long, sticky tongue is inserted into the
nest and eaten when
the insects sticking to it is withdrawn into the mouth. An aardvark's sense
of hearing is acute, and probably serves mainly to detect predators. Its
eyesight is poor.
When foraging, Aardvarks walk slowly
with their noses to the ground in seemingly aimless patterns. When disturbed, they freeze
and will then move off with a fast run.
are oval, 4 cm long, consisting mainly of sand are buried in a scrape about 10 cm
deep. Large tunnels, 40-50 cm diameter. Signs of digging into and near ant and
termite nests. Large holes in termite mounds. Inhabited
holes are often revealed by the many small flies that hover at the burrow