Aardvark – amazing animal
Aardvark is an amazing and one of Africa’s strangest animals. It is nocturnal, secretive, termite- and anteating mammal. Although aardvarks look like anteaters, they are actually related to elephants, manatees, and dugongs. It is the only modern representative of Tubulidentata. There are more than 14 species of animals.
These animals were named aardvarks by South Africans in the early 1800s. In the local language, Afrikaans, “aardvark” means “earth pig.” The scientific name of the aardvark is Orycteropus afer.
They live in dry places in Africa south of the Sahara Desert. They are large piglike animals weighing from 88-143 lb (40-65 kg) and measuring nearly 6 ft (1.8 m) from nose to tip of tail. Its head has huge donkeylike ears, a long snout, and drooping eyelids with long lashes. Their legs are powerful and equipped with long, strong claws for digging.
During the day they sleep in underground burrows. At night they hunt for their favorite food, termites. They break open the termites’ nests with their massive, flattened claws. Then they suck up the insects with their long tongue. Aardvarks also eat ants, locusts, and the fruit of wild gourds.
Female aardvarks give birth to one baby per year. A young aardvark weighs approximately 4 lb (2 kg) when born. After about six months it can dig its own burrow.
Aardvarks can live for more than 20 years in zoos. In captivity, aardvarks are fed meat, eggs, milk and cereals with vitamin and mineral supplements.
Hyenas, lions, cheetahs, wild dogs, and humans prey on aardvarks. Some parts of the animal are valued by many tribes for their supposed magical powers. An aardvark’s best defense is digging. It is considered one of the top “diggers” in the world. One aardvark digs a hole depth of 1 m in less than 5 minutes.
Currently aardvark is found in the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Africa.
In 2016 a flag with the image of Aardvark has become a symbol of the performance of the Moscow Theater Implicit influence directed by Vsevolod Lisowski.