Facts about Aardvarks (Antbears) -- Orycteropus afer:
A summary of most interesting statistics (size, gestation...), amazing environmental adaptations & fascinating facts about social habits, etc.
Aardvark means earth-pig in Afrikaans!
SIZE: Length (including tail) 1,6 m, mass 52 kg. Aardvarks are about the size of a medium pig, with an elongated face and tubular snout.
COLOUR: Pinkish or yellowish grey skin sparsely covered in coarse hairs which are a reddish brown in colour. The skin is often stained darker by earth.
SOUNDS / CALLS: When disturbed Aardvarks squeal like pigs, but are otherwise silent.
SENSES: While their eyesight is poor in daylight, their sense of smell and hearing is very good.
DEFENCE: Aardvarks are fierce fighters, using huge claws as dangerous weapons, lions and leopards being their major threat. Although having a clumsy walk, they are fast runners when necessary. Once the aardvark is halfway down the burrow, it is almost impossible to pull it out.
MOST LIKE: Unlike any other animal.
HABITAT: Wherever termites and ants are available as food, and where the earth is soft enough for burrowing. Aardvarks avoid stony or rocky terrain and high forest, but occur in open woodland and grassland areas.
ECOLOGICAL ROLE: Aaarvarks play an important role in the ecology by keeping termites in check.
REPRODUCTION & GESTATION PERIOD: Birth of one young Aaarvarks usually takes place between May and August after a gestation period of about 7 months, after which the young stays with the mother for several months.
SOCIAL HABITS: Aardvarks are mostly solitary, other than when a young one accompanies the mother. Aardvarks are nocturnal, sheltering in burrows most of the day. They are not territorial as they periodically dig new burrows -- their old burrows are often used by other small animals.
FOOD / FEEDING HABITS: Mainly termites, ants and other insects. Dust is prevented from entering the nose to the lungs by the dense bristles around the nostrils.
DISTRIBUTION: Ardvarks prefer sandy savannah areas where there is an abundance of termites, ants and other insects that form their main diet.
Ardvarks or Antbears are found south of the Sahara.
Kruger National Park (South Africa)
Pilanesberg National Park (South Africa)
Addo Elephant National Park
Kalahari Gemsbok National Park
More amazing facts on Aardvarks
Royalty free images gallery with photographs of Aardvarks