A is for Aardvark

By Rosie Miles - Base Manager Karongwe 4 years ago
Categories Jalova

A is for Aardvark

Having had a plethora of Aardvark sightings in the past few weeks I thought it was about time we did a little blog on this most unusual and comical of animals.

The Aardvark whilst looking like a hodge-podge of different animals, with a snout of a pig, ears of a rabbit, claws of a bear and tail of a kangaroo, the Aardvark actually has no close relatives.

The Aardvark is nocturnal and therefore not commonly seen, except in winter and if you live at the GVI Karongwe Base! They feed nearly exclusively on termites and ants which they detect using their immense sense of smell. Once a termite mound is located, the Aardvark will use its claws to dig into the mound and then use its long and sticky tongue to fish for termites.

Their huge ears give them excellent hearing which protects them from being ambushed by predators whilst digging for termites – Tsavo was obviously extremely quiet when stalking his Aardvark this week! If they are attacked by a predator the Aardvark will squeal like a pig and try turn on its back to fight back using its powerful claws.

Aardvarks dig burrows to sleep in during the day, abandoned ones then becoming homes for a huge variety of animals including warthog, wilddog and python.

A few fun facts about Aardvarks:

  • Aardvark is the first word in the English Dictionary
  • The name Aardvark comes from the Afrikaans word “Earth-pig”
  • They are often nicknamed “Ant-bears” or “African Ant-eaters” but are no relation to the Ant-eaters of South America
  • An Aardvark can eat up to 50,000 termites in one night
  • An Aardvark won’t return to the same termite mound for several days, allowing the population of that mound to recover
  • The Aardvark can live up to 20 years old
  • Aardvarks are very funny and make me giggle every time I see one!