IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

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Description

While this bizarre and elusive mammal may look similar in appearance to a pig, (aardvark literally means 'earthpig' in Afrikaans (3)), it is actually the only member of the order Tubulidentata (2). The aardvark has a stocky, arched body sparsely covered with bristly hair, a short neck, a long and muscular tail and long, pointed ears (2). Like a pig, the aardvark also has a flexible, tubular snout, although much longer than its namesake's, and a long, extensible tongue, which together are perfectly suited to searching out and consuming a diet of ants and termites (3) (4). The thick skin of the aardvark ranges in colour from pale yellowish-grey to pinkish (4) (5), although this is often stained darker grey or reddish-brown from the soil in which it burrows (4). Its short, powerful limbs bear large, sharp, shovel-shaped claws, four on the forefeet, five on each hindfoot, which enable the aardvark to dig with ease (2).

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Source: ARKive

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