Sunday, September 12, 2010


Orycteropus afer  is an interesting mammal. Even though they resemble anteaters, they are not actually related. Aardvarks (whose name essentially means "earth pig") are members of their own entire order, which itself is part of the superorder Afrotheria. The closest relatives of the Aarvarks are actually Hyraxes, Sengis, and Elephants!

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Aarvarks are medium sizes animals with nearly-hairless bodies and powerful claws which are used for digging at termite mounds. They also have highly specialized snouts that allow them to smell out and then lick up vast quantities of their favorite meals. Aardvarks actually do have teeth, but they grow only at the back of the jaw, have no enamel, and fall out and grow continuously throughout their lives.

Aardvarks are solitary, nocturnal animals. During the day they sleep in burrows, and they often dig completely new ones each day. Abandoned burrows can become shelter for many other smaller animals species. Females give birth to only one cub at a time, who is born pink and hairless. At about six months, any male offspring will leave and become independent. Female cubs stay with their mothers until she gives birth to another cub.

Aardvarks are not a threatened species. Their major predators include wild dogs and big cat species. Some human tribes consume Aardvark meat.

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