Orycteropus afer

Aardvarks live in Africa, mainly south of Sahara. The name aardvark comes from Afrikaans and it means "earth pig", because European (Dutch) settlers in Africa thought it resembles a pig. The name of its order, Tubulidentata (of which the aardvark is the only member), refers to its teeth, which instead of one pulp cavity have a lot of thin tubes and no enamel coating, so its teeth are worn away and regrow continuously. It has more olfactory lobes than any other mammal, and this gives it a highly developed sense of smell. The aardvark is nocturnal and solitary, feeding almost exclusively on ants and termites in the wild. It will forage over its home range in late afternoon or after sunset, and when it locates a considerable number of ants it digs into the nest and takes up a large number of ants (as many as 50,000 in one night) with its long, sticky tongue. But when ants and termites are scarce it will feed upon other soft-bodied insects, small mammals, and fruit. In zoos they are fed milk, eggs, and ground meat. Aardvarks are not listed as an endangered species, according to recent reports.

The above picture was taken in the Chicago Lincoln Park zoo, in August, 2004. The aardvark shown was in a dark area, moving rapidly and continuously, hence the fuzziness in this picture.

Family Orycteropodidae
Order Tubulidentata
Subclass Eutheria
Class Mammalia
Subphylum Vertebrata
Phylum Chordata
Kingdom Animalia
Life on Earth