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.

  • Common Name: Aardvark
  • Scientific Name: Orycteropus afer
  • Type: Mammals
  • Diet: Insectivore
  • Life Span: 18-23 years
  • Weight: 110 – 180 pounds


The aardvark’s fast digging skill also helps protect it from predators, such as hyenas and lions. When threatened, an aardvark can dig a hole and cover itself up in about ten minutes. Its large claws are another layer of defense.

Though aardvarks remain widespread, humans are the aardvark’s biggest threat. Some landowners don’t like the holes that aardvarks leave behind and kill the aardvarks. The use of pesticides to grow crops on land inhabited by aardvarks has also reduced the number of insects available for aardvarks to eat.
The aardvark is sometimes called “African ant bear”, “anteater”, or the “Cape anteater” after the Cape of Good Hope. Lifespan Aardvarks live for up to 18 years in the wild. In captivity, aardvarks are expected to live for about 23 years.

Reproduction of Aardvark

Female aardvarks give birth in their burrow usually to one baby at a time. A baby aardvark stays in the burrow for two weeks and then begins to venture out to forage at night with its mom. Babies begin digging for their own meals when they reach six months and they grow to full size in about one year.

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