063 718 5590 online@kurtsafari.com
063 718 5590 online@kurtsafari.com

The Aardvark, loosely translated as “Earth Pig”, is a very rare find in the Kruger National Park.  This unusual animal is also known as “African Ant Bear” or Cape Anteater.

Aardvarks are generally the size of a small pig and from head to rump they are anything from 100 to 140 centimetres excluding the tail.  Their tails are about 50 cm long and believe it or not, their tongues can be up to 30 centimetres long!!  Their front legs are muscular and they have long nails specially designed for digging.

The Aardvark is an extremely shy, mainly nocturnal animal.  These animals have an incredible sense of smell which they use to find termites.  Once termites are sniffed out, they dig till they get to the nest.   They then use their long sticky tongues to catch the termites, which they will swallow whole.  The Aardvark has a digestive system much like a bird, the stomach designed to break up insects.    Digestive enzymes in the saliva assist with digestion.   The only teeth they have are 20 tubular teeth at the back of the jaw, and these never stop growing.

In the dry season, Aardvark’s eat mainly ants, while in the wet season their main diet will be termites.  These unusual animals forage in a zigzag fashion across the veld, smelling out columns of termites.  If water is around, Aardvarks will drink water, but they are not dependant on water, as they can live with just the moisture they find in their diet.    Once they find a favourite eating mound they will mark it by secreting from the groin glands. Since the Aardvark is a nocturnal animal, they usually return to their burrows before dawn.

Aardvark Kruger national park safaris

In the dry season, Aardvark’s eat mainly ants, while in the wet season their main diet will be termites.  These unusual animals forage in a zigzag fashion across the veld, smelling out columns of termites.  If water is around, Aardvarks will drink water, but they are not dependant on water, as they can live with just the moisture they find in their diet.    Once they find a favourite eating mound they will mark it by secreting from the groin glands. Since the Aardvark is a nocturnal animal, they usually return to their burrows before dawn.

Aardvarks use their muscular front legs to dig out their dwellings.  Some of these dwellings are up to 6 meters below ground and can have as many as 8 entrances.  The Aardvarks burrows are wide enough to fit themselves, thus making it impossible for their predators, Lion or Hyena to fit into.  Aardvark males are solitary animals and will only be seen with females during the mating season.   The females, on the other hand, are usually seen with one or two offspring, usually of different ages.

Once the Aardvark moves from a burrow, its home is utilised by either other mammals, reptiles or even birds.  Another animal that benefits from the Aardvark is the Aardwolf, which will actually feed in the wake of the Aardvark.  The Aardwolf does not have the digging capabilities of the Aardvark, so it waits for the Aardvark to do the digging and once the Aardvark moves on the Aardwolf will feed at the same spot.

The Aardvark has not been studied extensively because of its shy nature and remains mysterious to humans.  Your best chances of seeing one of these mysterious creatures is an early morning or night game drive and even then your chances are slim.  Saviour the moment if you do see an Aardvark, as your chances of seeing two in one lifetime are extremely rare.

Fancy your chances of seeing an Aardvark during your next Kruger National Park safari? Book your Kruger tour with us today.

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