Aardvarks (/ˈɑːrdvɑːrk/ ARD-vark; Orycteropus afer) are medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammals native to Africa. 

They are the only living species of the order Tubulidentata, although other prehistoric species and genera of Tubulidentata are known. 


An aardvark at Detroit Zoo. image: MontageMan/wikipedia

Unlike other insectivores, they have long pig-like snout, which is used to sniff out food. It roams over most of the southern two-thirds of the African continent, avoiding areas that are mainly rocky. 

As nocturnal feeders, they subsists on ants and termites, which they will dig out of their hills using its sharp claws and powerful legs. They also dig to create burrows in which to live and rear its young.

They received a "least concern" rating from the IUCN, although their numbers seem to be decreasing. 

Aardvarks are vaguely pig-like in appearance. Their body is stout with a prominently arched back and is sparsely covered with coarse hairs. Their limbs are of moderate length, with the rear legs being longer than the forelegs. 

Their front feet have lost the pollex (or 'thumb'), resulting in four toes, while the rear feet have all five toes. Each toe bears a large, robust nail which is somewhat flattened and shovel-like, and appears to be intermediate between a claw and a hoof. 


Aardvark and young. image: Scotto Bear/wikipedia

Aardvarks typically weigh between 60 and 80 kilograms . Aardvarks usually measure between 105 and 130 centimetres, and can reach lengths of 2.2 metres   when its tail (which can be up to 70 centimetres ) is taken into account.


Commentary: Curious food fact

Aardvarks still have teeth, and they seem to be specifically for eating the only vegetable it cares about; a kind of cucumber that is buried underground. This cucumber also gets its seeds dispersed in the droppings of aardvarks. 

via reddit


Cute images of aardvarks on National Geographic