Aardvark

Aardvark
Source: picssr.com

Aardvark, Orycteropus afer, is the only extant species in the order of mammals, called Tubulidentata, distinguished by their none-enameled, eroding and constantly regrowing tube-like teeth. The body of an aardvark is very stout and back is arched. It is covered in coarse hairs. The thickness of the skin protects these animals from biting ant. Like pangolins, aardvarks have a long, protrusive tongue and a gizzard-like stomach. Although the ears are rabbit-like and the tail resembles those of Kangaroos, the aardvark is not related to any of these animals. Aardvark lineage, however, has been linked to an evolutionary group of African mammals, which includes elephants, golden moles, hyraxes and tenrecs. They are medium sized mammals reaching approximately 1.6 m and 55 cm in body and tail length respectively. They weigh between 38 and 64 kg.

The aardvark is nocturnal, resting in a burrow during the day and foraging in termite mounds at night. It walks on its claws with its trail dragging on the ground. The visual faculty of aardvarks is poor and they compensate this with their well-developed olfactory and hearing senses. They feed predominantly on termites and they occur wherever termites are abundant in the savannah region and part of the rain forest of Nigeria. Gestation takes about seven months in aardvarks and they reach sexual maturity at an age of about two years. They live for up to 24 years old in captivity.