Aardvark - An Amazing Nocturnal and Solitary Digger

Found commonly in Africa, Aardvark has a long snout and body that resembles the body of pig exactly which is a nocturnal mammal. In South Africa’s Afrikaans language it means “Earth Pig.” On inspecting this little creature closely, you would find that it resembles other animals as well. It has long and alert ears like rabbits and has a tail like Kangaroo.

Aardvark Important Facts and Information

  • Aardvarks are nocturnal in nature
  • They eat termites and ants
  • They have sticky worm like tongue which is used to catch prey
  • They pair only in the breeding season and female aardvark gives birth to only 1 young-one after the gestation period of 7 months.
  • They are found in the sub-Saharan Africa most commonly. Savannas, bush lands and woodlands are the suitable habitats of this little creature
  • They are solitary in nature and live up to 23 years
  • It is a quiet animal and makes soft grunting sounds sometimes. It bleats only when it is frightened
  • They are very good and efficient in digging and can dig a yard in just five minutes. They are good swimmers also.


They hunt for food only at nights and their food is found mostly underground. They have poor eyesight but have excellent sense of hearing and smell with the help of which they find termite nests. Once they locate termite nests, they make use of their long sticky tongue to catch the prey. When the food supplies become scarce, they make use of fruits like cucumber or soft-bodied insects for supplementing their diet.



As mentioned, Aardvarks are found in the sub-Saharan Africa, where their suitable habitats are grasslands, woodlands, bush lands and savannas. They are very efficient in digging burrows and spend the entire day in the burrows. They strictly avoid the heat of the sun and daylight hours. They are not seen in the swamp forests because a high water table there prevents them from digging deep enough. They cannot dug sufficiently in the terrains because of their rocky nature and hence avoid living there. They are present and seen throughout sub-Saharan Africa.


They are solitary in nature and prefer to live in isolation. They are never seen in a large group because they are nocturnal and are not seen very commonly. It is easy to locate them out of their burrows just after the sun set. They are very active at night and can see effectively at night.



As mentioned the creature remains active after the sun set, they spend most of the time holed up in the underground burrows which they dig by themselves. At dark, they make use of their sharp claws to acquire the food they love to it i.e., termites. It raids underground ant nests and while doing so closes its nostrils to keep the insects and dust from entering their snout.


These creatures have gestation period of 7 months. They pair up only during the mating season. Between May and July one baby is born to them which weighs between one-two pounds. The cub of the creature is completely bald and creased and weighs between 1-2 pounds. Their hair begins to grow only after 5-6 weeks and the ears perk up after 2 weeks only. Their cubs begin to feed on things other than breast milk after three months only. They are able to dig only after 6 months and attain sexual maturity at around two years of age. They live up to 23 years.



They are hunted by humans primarily. Most of the African tribes hunt these creatures for flesh and also make use of their body parts as charms. It is believed that when their teeth are stored they prevent illness. There are other animals like leopards, lions and hyenas which hunt on them as well.


Not much is known about the breeding habits of these animals because of their solitary nature. But as mentioned their gestation lasts for 7 months and their young ones are born just prior to the rainy season when food is in abundance. At the time of the birth, weigh around two kg and go along with their mothers up to 6 months.


They are very interesting to look at as the fully mature Aardvark is between 3.3 and 4.3 feet in length. The fully grown male weighs up to 140 pounds and the females are smaller than them and weigh about 110 pounds. Their over and all size based on the location and food availability.

It has a body which resembles closely to the pig. It has a rounded hump and a very long snout. Their long-pointed ears are active like rabbits. They have very long and thick tail which is similar to Kangaroo. They have very sharp claws which enable them to dig tunnels efficiently.

Life Span

These creatures live up to 18 years or slightly more when they move in the wild but in the captivity they are expected to live around 23 years.

Amazing Facts About Aardvark That Are Little Known

  • The creature is capable of eating up to 60,000 ants and termites in just a night. They have 30 cm long sticky tongue
  • They can seal their nostrils to ward off dust and ants
  • They have poor eyesight and a good sense of smell and hearing
  • They have spoon-shaped and very sharp claws that can dig the ground very efficiently including the termite mounds
  • They can grow up to 2 meters and weigh up to 60 kg
  • They can swim also.