General

Aardvark

posted: 04/29/14
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Aardvark
Robert Kovacs/Thinkstock

Where You'll Most Likely Find Me: Africa, south of the Sahara

What I Like to Eat: Insects like termites and ants

Betcha Didn't Know This About Me: You humans have teeth that are made of enamel, while our teeth are made from cement. We also only have 10 cheek teeth and no incisors and canines.

What's In a Name: The South Africans were the ones who gave us our name. It comes from South Africa's Afrikaans language and means "earth pig". Our long snouts resemble our American cousins.

Why I am Famous: Our long, sticky tongues are what we are best known for.

Dig This: We have powerful hearing and a very strong sense of smell. So strong that we are able to smell and hear our future meals before we see them. We love digging for our food in the dirt with our powerful limbs and long, sharp claws that are shaped like spoons. We use our tongues to slurp these insect treats out of their mounds right into our mouths. We also dig up wild cucumber plants for our water sources.

Mismatched Body Parts: Our ears look like those that belong on a rabbit, while our tails resemble a kangaroo's tail. Weird because we are not related to either of these mammals.

Safe Haven: We are pretty fast when it comes to digging. We can dig a burrow in five to 20 minutes depending on the size we need it to be. This is where we sleep (we are nocturnal creatures), our females give birth or hide from predators like human, lions, pythons and hyenas. Sometimes other small animals and birds use our abandoned burrows for their own shelter. We feel good about this small contribution to the animal kingdom.

When I Feel Threatened: In order to protect ourselves from predator, we run in zig zags to confuse our menace. If we cannot outrun him, we're not above using our sharp claws and long tail to strike back. We also have one secret weapon that many don't know about: like a gymnast, we can flip on our backs and turn a somersault to get out of harm's way.

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