(also ‘earth pig‘, ‘ground pig‘ or ‘ant bear‘; plural: ‘aardvarks‘; for the right pronunciation of this word, please click here)
an animal — mammal — (nocturnal) active at night — looks like a pig with a stout pale yellowish-grey body covered with rough hair on thick skin and with back bent (arched) back, long head with a large snout that flattens at the end (mouth and nose part), a tube-like mouth and a long snake-like tongue that helps to eat termites and ants and large straight ears, short, thick neck, moderately long legs with four toes on the front legs and five toes on the back legs with a spade-like ‘nail’ on each toe, tail thick at the base and slender at the end; length: to 1 or 1.3 metres (3 to 3.5 feet) in length, not including the tail (which may be 1.5 to 2 feet), weight: somewhere between 40 and 60 Kg and height: about 1 metre (3 feet); feeds only on ants and termites and occasionally eats a kind of fruit called ‘aardvark cucumber’ or ‘aardvark pumpkin’; lives between 10 and 13 years in the wild and about 24 years in captivity; found in Africa, mostly south of the Sahara desert,
female ~~ sow
baby ~~ cub, (pup?)
group ~~ pack,
voice ~~ bark (females to call their cubs),
home ~~ burrow (with several entrances and rooms… separate for sleeping and for cubs)
Though an aardvark, an amazing animal known to have been living on the earth for 35 million years, looks-like a pig and has some characteristics of an anteater, it is not related to anteaters or pigs; it is somewhat related to ‘elephant shrews’, a small rat-like animal and to hyraxes which in turn or related to elephants.
The most striking features of an aardvark are its snout (mouth and nose part) with a long tongue. The nostrils (nose holes) can be closed while it digs for the ants and termites in a ant nest or termite mound, and the long, snake-like sticky tongue can scoop up about 50, 000 ants in one night, and along with the ants and termites, aardvarks eat locusts, a type of grass hopper, and its soft 10 cheek teeth which are without the usual enamel coating and so worn out and regrow!
Aardvarks have fine sense of smell and hearing.
With their spade-like nails on each toe, the aardvarks can dig through the hardest termite mound very fast, and their thick skin protects them from the ant bite.
Aardvarks are known to be clean animals The burrow may be a simple hole in the ground, or can be much fancier, with as many as 20 entrances and exits and several ‘rooms’. They have good toilet manners and ‘go to the bathroom’ in a hole they dig which they dig some distance from their burrow and they cover up what they do with dirt!