David Attenborough TV - Encyclopaedia Britannica - Wilson & Reeder - Joe Raposo - BBC News online - National Geographic online -
Aardvark: it’s the world’s largest burrowing animal. Its sense of smell is extremely acute. Shovel-like claws and powerful legs enable it to dig down to depths of five or six metres. A full-grown aardvark needs to eat about fifty thousands termites every day. Termites are highly nutritious and full of moisture, and they can be collected here year-round. Aardvarks are usually nocturnal … David Attenborough, Seven Worlds, One Planet VII: Africa
Earthpig – the Dutch name for the mammals of genus Orycteropus, confined to Africa. Several species have been named. Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911
Seventeen poorly defined species are recognised. Wilson & Reeder’s Mammal Species of the World third edition
I’m An Aardvark. Joe Raposo, Sesame Street
The ancient ancestor of all mammals that give birth to live young – including humans – probably had genetic similarities with the aardvark.
The elusive African mammal is a close match to our early cousin in the way its DNA is packaged into distinct bundles, or chromosomes, say scientists. BBC News online article 20th January 2003
Aardvarks live throughout Africa, south of the Sahara. Their name comes from South Africa’s Afrikaans language and means ‘earth pig’. A glimpse of the aardvark’s body and long snout brings the pig to mind. On closer inspection, the aardvark appears to include other animal features as well. It boasts rabbitlike ears and a kangaroo tail – yet the aardvark is related to none of these animals.
Aardvarks are nocturnal. They spend the hot African afternoon holed up in cool underground burrows dug with their powerful feet and claws that resemble small spades. After sunset, aardvarks put those claws to good use in acquiring their favorite food – termites.
While foraging in grasslands and forests aardvarks, also called ‘antbears’, may travel several miles a night in search of large, earthen termite mounds. A hungry aardvark digs through the hard shell of a promising mound with its front claws and uses its long, sticky, wormlike tongue to feast on the insects within. It can close its nostrils to keep dust and insects from invading its snout, and its thick skin protects it from bites. It uses a similar technique to raid underground ant nests.
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, which can be extensive dwellings with many different openings. National Geographic online