Status: Least Concern
Names: African ant bear
Description: The aardvark is vaguely pig-like in appearance. Its body is stout with a prominently arched back and is sparsely covered with coarse hairs. The limbs are of moderate length, with the rear legs being longer than the forelegs. The front feet have lost the pollex (or 'thumb'), resulting in four toes, while the rear feet have all five toes. Each toe bears a large, robust nail which is somewhat flattened and shovel-like, and appears to be intermediate between a claw and a hoof.
The aardvark is not closely related to pigs or to the South American anteater, even though they share close resemblances. The name "aardvark" is Afrikaans (Afrikaans pronunciation: [ˈɑːrtfark]), comes from earlier Afrikaans, 'erdvark' and means "earth pig" or "ground pig" (aarde: "earth/ground", vark: "pig"), because of its burrowing habits.
Fun Facts !
Aardvarks have one of the best senses of smell in the Animal kingdom. They can devour more ants and termites than anteaters in a night. Aardvarks also have muscular stomachs which "chew" the food into a digestible form. Aardvarks once were featured on the 1 ngwee Zambian coin because of their admirable qualities such as; Uniqueness (being the only surviving members of their order Tubulidentata), being iconic animals, Industriousness (because they are hardworking animals that dig their own burrows and spend the whole night digging for ants and termites) and lastly for their perseverance (for never giving up or spending all night looking for food)
Ecology and Behaviour
The adult aardvark’s principal enemies are human (who sometimes kill it for meat), lions, hyenas and leopards; pythons also take the young. When in danger the aardvark takes to the nearest hole, or rapidly excavates one, pushing the dirt backwards with its feet and moving the dirt away with its tail. But if cornered, it defends itself by sitting up, using its tail, shoulders and foreclaws- or it will lie on its back and strike with all four feet. The aardvark is a rather quiet animal. However, it does make soft grunting sounds as it forages and loud grunts as it makes for its tunnel entrance. It makes a bleating sound if frightened. When it is threatened it will make for one of its burrows. If one is not close it will dig a new one rapidly. This new one will be short and require the aardvark to back out when the coast is clear.
There are no definitive counts because of their nocturnal and secretive habits but their number seem to be stable overall, hence they are listed as a, "least concern" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Distribution and Habitat
Aardvarks are found in sub-Saharan Africa, where suitable habitat (savannas, grasslands, woodlands and bushland) and food (i.e., ants and termites) is available. They spend the daylight hours in dark burrows to avoid the heat of the day. The only major habitat that they are not present in is swamp forest.
Interaction with humans
Humans have been known to kill them for meat in some countries.
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