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Facts about Aardvarks For Kids


The Aardvark is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal native to Africa. It is the only living species of the order Tubulidentata, although other prehistoric species and genera of Tubulidentata are known. The name aardvark comes from a word meaning “earth pig.” Although the aardvark, endemic to Africa, shares some similarities with the South American anteater, the two are not related. Aardvarks are nocturnal, usually waiting until dark before they emerge from their burrows. Their night-time travels average one to three miles but can range up to 18 miles.

What is the scientific Classification of an Aardvark?

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Eutheria
Superorder: Afrotheria
Order: Tubulidentata
Family: Orycteropodidae
Genus: Orycteropus
Species: afer

Fun Facts About Aardvarks

What are the Relatives of the Aardvark: The closest living relatives of the aardvark are the elephant shrews, along with the sirenians, hyraxes, tenrecs, and elephants.

Predators of the Aardvark: The adult aardvark’s principal enemies are humans, lions, hyenas, and leopards; pythons also take the young.

The Aardvarks Breeding Pattern: Aardvarks only pair during the breeding season; Female aardvarks typically give birth to one newborn each year. The young remain with their mother for about six months before moving out and digging their own burrows.

How big is Aardvarks: An aardvark’s length is usually between 1 and 1.3 meters and can reach lengths of 2.2 meters when its tail is taken into account.

How much do Aardvarks weigh: An aardvark’s weight is typically between 40 and 65 kg.

The lifespan of an Aardvark: 23 years in captivity

How long is an Aardvarks Tongue: An aardvark’s tongue can be up to 12 in long and is sticky to help extract termites from the earthen mounds.

What does an Aardvark Look like?

The aardvark is pig-like in appearance with pale yellowish gray in color and often stained reddish-brown by soil. The front feet have lost the pollex (thumb), but the rear feet have all five toes. Each toe has a large nail that is flattened and shovel-like. Their ears are disproportionately long, and the tail is very thick at the base and gradually tapers. Their elongated head is set on a short, thick neck, and the end of the snout bears a disc, which houses the nostrils. The mouth is small and tubular. The aardvark has a long, thin, snakelike, protruding tongue and elaborate structures supporting a keen sense of smell.

Where is an Aardvark Found?

Aardvarks live in Subsaharan Africa in places such as savannas, grasslands, woodlands, and bushlands. They range from southern Egypt to the Cape of Good Hope in the far south of Africa.

What to Aardvarks Eat

Aardvarks are specialized for eating termites. They move from one termite mound to another, dismantling the hills with their powerful claws. Insects are trapped by the aardvark’s long tongue, which is covered with thick, sticky saliva.