Aardvark
Conservation Status: Least Concern
The Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) ("Digging foot"), sometimes called "antbear" is a
medium-sized mammal native to Africa. The name comes from the Afrikaans/Dutch for
"earth pig" (aarde earth, varken pig), because early settlers from Europe thought it
resembled a pig. However, the Aardvark is not closely related to pigs, being placed in its
own order.

The most distinctive characteristic of the Tubulidentata is (as the name implies) their
teeth, which, instead of having a pulp cavity, have a number of thin tubes of dentine,
each containing pulp and held together by cementum. The teeth have no enamel
coating and are worn away and regrow continuously. The Aardvark is born with
conventional incisors and canines at the front of the jaw, but these fall out and are not
replaced. Adult Aardvarks have only molars at the back of the jaw.

The Aardvark is only vaguely pig-like; the body of the aardvark is sparsely scattered with
coarse hairs; the body is stout with an arched back; the limbs are of moderate length. The
front feet have lost the pollex (or 'thumb') — resulting in four toes — but the rear feet
have all five toes. Each toe bears a large, robust nail which is somewhat flattened and
shovel-like, and appears to be intermediate between a claw and a hoof. The ears are
disproportionately long, and the tail is very thick at the base and gradually tapers. The
greatly elongated head is set on a short, thick neck, and the end of the snout bears a
disc, which house the nostrils. The mouth is small and tubular, typical of species that feed
on termites. The aardvark has a long, thin, protrudable tongue and elaborate structures
supporting a keen sense of smell.

An aardvark's weight is typically between 40 and 65 kg; length is usually between 1 and
1.3 meters, and can reach lengths of 2.2 meters[1] when its heavy tail (which can be up
to 70 centimetres)[1] is taken into account. The aardvark is a pale yellowish grey in
colour, often stained reddish-brown by soil. The coat is thin and the animal's primary
protection is its tough skin; the aardvark has been known to sleep in a recently
excavated ant nest, so well does it protect them.



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