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Aardvark

Aardvark

Orycteropus afer




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Animalia

HABITAT

Sandy and clay soil

Aardvark can be seen when it basks in the sun at a hole. Even in hard, dry ground, he quickly digs holes with his strong forepaws; in the soft one digs holes faster than a few people with shovels. Able to easily break through the strong walls of termite mounds. Dig a hole 1 m deep in less than 5 minutes. 

PREY/DIET

Termites, Ants

The aardvark also eats the larvae of beetles , locusts and other orthopterans , according to some information – mushrooms , fruits and berries. The aardvark is apparently the only animal involved in the distribution of the seeds of a cucumber of the species Cucumis humifructus , whose ripe fruits, in search of moisture, it is dug from the ground in the dry season (from a depth of about 30 cm)

DISTINCTIVE FEATURE

Long, sticky tongue and rabbit-like ears

The length of the body of an adult aardvark is 100–158 cm, the tail is 44–71 cm, the height at the shoulders is 60–65 cm. It weighs up to 100 kg, most often 50–70 kg. females are slightly smaller than males, with a white tail tip (obviously, this allows the cubs to follow their mother in the dark). 

Mammal

ORDER

Tubulidentata

FAMILY

Orycteropodidae

GENUS

Orycteropus

behaviour

SIZE 22%
WEIGHT 18%
SPEED 38%
LIFE SPAN 22%
POPULATION 34%

Conservation Status

  • LEAST CONCERN

Aardvark, or African aardvark, or Cape aardvark ( lat.  Orycteropus afer ), is a species of mammals, the only modern representative of the order of aardvark (Tubulidentata).

Due to a number of striking structural features, the aardvark was originally assigned to the same family as the South American anteaters, however, the superficial resemblance to them was the result of convergent evolution  – adaptation to the feeding of termites and ants. The evolutionary origin of the aardvark order remains unclear; probably it is close to sirens, damans, and proboscis. The oldest fossils of aardvark found in Kenya date from the Early Miocene. At the end of the Miocene and the beginning of the Pleistocene, representatives of the order, similar to the modern species, lived in southern Europe and Western Asia, as well as Madagascar ( Plesiorycteropus ).

By the beginning of the 21st century, aardvarks were preserved only in Africa, where they were distributed everywhere south of the Sahara, with the exception of the jungle of Central Africa. Populations in the Nile Valley and in the Tassili Mountains ( Algeria ) are extinct.

Aardvark is a medium-sized mammal that resembles a pig with an elongated muzzle, cleft ears and a strong muscular tail, similar to a kangaroo tail.

Aardvark lives in a wide variety of landscapes, avoiding only the dense rain forests of Equatorial Africa, marshlands, as well as areas of rocky soils where it is difficult to dig. In the mountains, they are not found above 2000 m. Prefers savannas. Aardvarks often inhabit areas flooded during the rainy season, since their loose soil is most suitable for digging. The main factor limiting the abundance and distribution of the species is apparently the presence of ants and termites – the main food of the aardvark.

Aardvarks are allegedly polygamous. Pregnancy lasts about 7 months and ends with the birth of one, rarely two cubs. Most captive labor occurs in February, March, and June;

Despite the fact that aardvarks are sometimes hunted for meat that tastes like pork, strong skin and teeth, this species is not protected. Its number is not known exactly, but, presumably, is gradually decreasing. In some areas (especially agricultural), it is almost completely exterminated.