What Do Aardvarks Eat Snuffling through Aardvark Appetites 5

Scientists collect aardvark poop to understand how the species is impacted by climate in Africa

Aardvarks can be found in almost any habitat south of the Sahara Desert that has adequate insects to eat. They commonly live in bushland, grassland, woodlands, and savannas. They are not found in swamp forest or any overly wet habitat, because the moisture makes it impossible to burrow.

Recent research suggests that aardvarks may be particularly vulnerable to alterations in temperature caused by climate change. Aardvarks are amazing, and unique animals that have a highly specialized diet consisting mainly of insects, with termites being their primary food source. Aardvarks are well adapted to feeding on insects, with several unique physical adaptations that help them to locate, capture, and consume their prey. As we have seen, aardvarks have several physical adaptations that make them highly effective at feeding on insects in the soil. It allows them to root through the soil and dig deep into termite mounds to access their prey.

Some are also poached for their teeth, which are believed to prevent illness and are worn as good luck charms by some tribes. Because of the aardvark’s elusive nature, little is known about its mating habits in the wild. Aardvarks are well adapted to feeding on termites and other insects and have several physical adaptations that help protect them from being bitten.

Aardvarks are prevalent in African folklore, particularly for their bravery. Anything that doesn’t flinch in the face of hundreds of ants can be seen as pretty brave! The Hausa magicians use the heart and skin of aardvarks to create a charm, and some tribes use aardvark teeth as good-luck bracelets. At the young age of two weeks old it will begin to leave the burrow with mom, and is weaned at three months.

They give birth to a single baby, called a “cub,” within their burrow. The aardvark cub is very wrinkly, with floppy ears when it is first born. After three weeks it will grow into the folds and be able to hold its ears upright.

What do animals eat

The aardvark excavates branching burrows, usually 2–3 metres long but sometimes up to 13 metres, with several sleeping chambers. It abandons old burrows and digs new ones frequently, which thereby provides dens used by other species such as the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus). At night it travels 10–30 km (6–19 miles), ambling along familiar paths in a zigzag fashion, pausing frequently to sniff and press its snout against the soil. Fleshy sensory organs on the nasal septum probably detect tiny underground movements. With its strong claws the aardvark can rapidly open a cement-hard termite mound. The sticky tongue, extending to 30 cm (nearly 12 inches) from the small mouth, is then used to lap up the insects.

Aardvark cucumbers may not be a major component of the aardvark’s diet, but they do provide a good source of hydration. Aardvarks are nocturnal, burrowing mammals that can weigh up to 180 pounds. They have long snouts, similar to that of a pig, that they use, along with their claws, to locate and dig out ant and termite hills. In African folklore, the aardvark is much admired because of its diligent quest for food and its fearless response to soldier ants. Hausa magicians make a charm from the heart, skin, forehead, and nails of the aardvark, which they then proceed to pound together with the root of a certain tree.

People rarely see aardvarks, mostly because they’re solitary, nocturnal, and spend so much time underground. They also lack the reflective tissue that makes the eyes of some animals glow in the dark. Epps learned to recognize aardvark tracks and poop (which they bury) when working as post-doctoral researcher nearly 20 years ago in Tanzania. In 2016, during a sabbatical, he returned to Africa for six weeks to see if he could spot aardvark digging signs, track them through the bush and find their buried droppings.

What do animals eat

Aardvarks forage for food only at night and mostly find their food underground. They have bad eyesight, but have excellent senses of smell and hearing, which they use to help find termite nests. They walk in zigzags, sniffing the ground and pointing their ears forwards. Once a nest has been located, aardvarks are ideally equipped for breaking in.

What do animals eat

The cub will stay with its mother until she gives birth to her next cub, and is capable of having its own cubs at two years old. “Our initial findings suggest that climate change will increase habitat fragmentation and limit gene flow for aardvarks, particularly where precipitation is expected to decrease and temperature increase,” Epps said. “With aridity expected to increase in southern-most Africa under most climate change scenarios, the need for further research is clear.” Closely related individuals were detected as far as 44 km apart, and individuals less than 55 km were more genetically similar. Thus, they found aardvarks may disperse up to 55 km from where they are born.

They have long, spoon-shaped claws and powerful forelimbs ideally adapted to burrowing into termite mounds and can penetrate nests which could not be broken through by a man using a pickaxe. There are four claws on each front foot and five on each back foot. Because they have such a specialized diet, the collapse of a food source could effectively decimate populations in a given area, or across the country. If pollution or global climate change impacts the ants or termites that aardvarks prey on, their numbers could decrease very quickly. As we have seen as well, they also have a really great sense of smell, which helps them to locate termite mounds and other insect colonies.

The aardvark’s coat is thin, and the animal’s primary protection is its tough skin. Aardvark, (Orycteropus afer), stocky African mammal found south of the Sahara Desert in savanna and semiarid areas. The name aardvark—Afrikaans for “earth pig”—refers to its piglike face and burrowing habits. The aardvark weighs up to 65 kg (145 pounds) and measures up to 2.2 metres (7.2 feet) long, including the heavy, 70-cm (28-inch) tail. The face is narrow with an elongated snout, very reduced eyes, and ears up to 24 cm (9.5 inches) long. The aardvark’s coat is scant and yellowish gray; the face and tail tip may be whitish.

Their strong claws are also particularly useful to dig into termite mounds or the soil. But sometimes, it will also consume other types of insects, such as beetles and grubs. But again, these insects make up only a small portion of the aardvark’s diet.

Across the study area, genetic differentiation between individuals was greater when intervening landscapes were more arid, suggesting that movement through those areas is restricted. Those factors led Epps to undertake the first study of the genetics of aardvarks in the wild and to develop noninvasive methods to do so. People have examined aardvark DNA in the past for studies of mammalian evolution, but never across wild populations. Aardvarks may also be susceptible to drought, one of the effects of climate change in Africa. In 2013, hot, dry conditions in South Africa’s Tswalu Kalahari Reserve killed off some of the aardvarks’ insect prey.

What do animals eat

They surveyed eight protected and four privately owned areas in South Africa, two protected areas in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) and a location in Kenya. They collected 253 fecal samples and analyzed 104 that were of the highest quality for genetic information. Please donate £5 to help YPTE to continue its work of inspiring young people to look after our world. Aardvarks can be found across the vast majority of Africa, south of the Sahara Desert. They can be found from sub-Saharan Africa to South Africa, but there are a few countries they avoid.

Unlike most other insectivores, it has a long snout, similar to that of a pig, which is used to sniff out food. The aardvark gets moisture from the cucumber, and the cucumber seeds are fertilized and spread. They can roam anywhere from six to eighteen miles from their burrow in a night, searching for food.

Aardvarks are mostly absent in Namibia, Ghana, Madagascar, and the Ivory Coast. Insects are swallowed whole, and their stomach as some kind of gizzard which has the function of grinding all the consumed insects.