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Photo Credit: Gary M. Stolz Although the African elephant is the largest and most powerful of all living land mammals, it is also amo...

Friday, April 8, 2016

Aardvark

Photo Credit: Leptictidium 
The aardvark is widespread in many parts of Africa. It uses its keen senses of smell and hearing to seek out ants and termites to eat, often returning to feed at the same nesting night after night.

The aardvark has a muscular body like a pig's, but its short, powerful limbs are equipped with sharp claws. It elongated head has large ears that fold down during burrowing. Yellowish gray in color, its almost hairless skin is often darkly stained from digging for food.

Not much is known about the aardvark. Active by night, aardvark journeys of close to 20 miles in one night have been tracked by radio.

Solitary by nature, except for females rearing young, the aardvark lives in a 10 to 13 foot burrow with a large sleeping chamber at the end. It makes separate shallow holes for droppings, which covers the earth. It burrows quickly and easily with its well adapted front legs and claws.

Did you know? 
  • The aardvark's powerful claws can break through termite nest walls too hard for a human to penetrate with a pick ax. 
  • The aardvark's name comes from the Afrikaans word for "earth pig." 
  • If disturbed, the aardvark sits up on its hindquarters to listen for danger, supported by its tail, like a kangaroo.

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