The Aardvark is a nocturnal mammal native to Africa. They are omnivores and herbivores and eat mainly insects, eggs, roots, fruits, seeds, and bark. They are considered one of the most primitive mammals. There are four species of aardvarks; three are found in Africa and one lives in Madagascar.
Name and taxonomy
The aardvark is often referred to as the African Ant Bear (AABB). This name is used in English speaking countries such as South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Réunion, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen, Oman, Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives Islands, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, French Polynesia, Wallis & Futuna, Cook Islands, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Martinique, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Turks & Caicos Islands, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, United States Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Saba, Sint Maarten, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Saint Helena, Ascension Island, Trinidad & Tobago, Saint Christopher, Saint Croix, Saint Eustatius, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Pierre & Miquelon, Saint
Aardvarks are members of the order Tubulidentata within the suborder Macroscelidea. They are small mammals native to Africa and Asia, and are distinguished from pigs by having no external ears, long snouts and short tails. Aardvarks are most closely related to elephants, hippopotamuses, rhinos and pangolins. Aardvarks belong to the family Vombatidae and are sometimes referred to as vombats because of the similarity in appearance to the common wombat.
The term “aardvark” derives from Afrikaans, meaning “earth pig”. Other names include ground hog, porcupine antelope, African hedgehog, and mole rat.
The fossil record reveals several mysteries about the evolution of mammals. One of those mysteries concerns the origin of the earwigs. In fact, there are no living species known to belong to the family Dermaptera. This family includes the earwigs, crickets, cockroaches, and termites. Earwigs are insects that live in moist environments and feed on decaying matter. They are often found in compost piles and rotting vegetation.
Earwigs are very small animals. Their bodies range from 0.5 cm to 2.0 cm long and weigh less than one milligram. A single female earwig can lay up to 50 eggs per day. Most earwigs live only a few weeks; some species can survive for months without food.
Earwigs evolved from ancestors that lived during the Palaeogene period. During this time, the continents of Gondwana and Laurasia collided to form the supercontinent called Pangaea. At that time, the Earth was covered in warm tropical waters. These waters produced coral reefs and shallow seas. There were many types of life on land, including dinosaurs and primitive reptiles. Some of these creatures had four legs and walked upright like humans do today. Others had six legs and moved along slowly like modern lizards. Still
Aardvark mothers protect their young fiercely, even against larger predators such as lions. They do this by digging deep tunnels into the ground and filling them with dirt, creating a mound that looks like a small hill. This protects the baby aardvark from being eaten alive. Once it grows big enough to crawl out of the tunnel, it digs another one.
The mother aardvark leaves her den every day to feed on grasses and roots. She carries her baby along with her. When she returns home, she deposits the food in the hole where she had been feeding. Then she covers the entrance with soil again.
When the baby aardvarks grow older, they start eating termites and ants. Their diet consists mostly of invertebrates, including beetles, crickets, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, worms, snails, slugs, and woodlice. Termites and ants make up about half of their diet.