Aardvark

Longleat Keepers Welcome Animal ‘A’ Team

 

‘A’ is for aardvark, anteater and armadillo - Keepers at Longleat are celebrating the births of their very own animal ‘A’ team.

Among the new arrivals is a baby aardvark, the first to have been born at the Wiltshire safari park.

Weighing a little more than a kilogramme at birth, the bizarre-looking calf is born without hair, has drooping ears and wrinkled skin.

Over time it develops hair, the long ears become upright and the wrinkles slowly disappear.

“This is our first ever aardvark birth so we are paying particularly close attention to how the calf is growing and checking its weight daily,” said Team Manager Catriona Carr.

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“Aardvark calves can be fragile in their first stages of life, and parents can sometimes be a bit clumsy so we are closely monitoring mother and baby and helping with feeding sessions until the calf has got stronger and can look after itself,” she added.

Originally from Sub-Saharan Africa, aardvarks are renowned for their tunnelling abilities and are capable of digging through a metre of soil in under 30 seconds.

The two-metre-long mammals have specially-adapted spade-like claws on their front legs which allow them to dig out up to 50,000 bugs in a single evening.

They also have tongues measuring in excess of 30cms and nostrils, which they can completely close to prevent dirt getting into their noses.

The other members of the ‘A’ Team are a baby giant anteater and a pair of six-banded armadillos.

Giant anteaters originate from Central and South America and can be found in tropical and deciduous forests.

As its name suggests the giant anteater is the largest of the anteater family and can grow to over two metres in length with tongues that extend to more than 60cm.

The new arrival is the latest success story for Longleat captive breeding programme for the species, which is officially listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. 

As for armadillos, the name comes from the Spanish for ‘little armoured one’ and refers to the hard, protective bands which cover their bodies and protects them from predators. This protective layer is actually made from keratin, the same material which is in our hair and nails.


Baby Aardvark The Newest Arrival at Bioparc Valencia

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On May 12, Bioparc Valencia announced a rare birth: a baby Aardvark was born!

The baby joins a family of mom, dad, and two siblings. For now, mom and baby have private living quarters so they can properly bond and rest. Keepers report that mom and baby appear to be doing well, and they check on the pair often during these critical early weeks. Twice a day, the baby is inspected and weighed to make sure it is gaining weight at a steady pace.

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Primavera 2019 - Nace una nueva cría de oricteropo en BIOPARC Valencia (6)Photo Credit: Bioparc Valencia

Eventually, mom and baby (who keepers suspect is a female) will join the family in the outdoor habitat, where they spend the evenings digging holes in search of insects as they would in the wild.

At birth, baby Aardvarks weigh about three pounds and have droopy ears and hairless, wrinkled skin. As the baby grows, the wrinkles gradually disappear and the ears are held upright.  Body hair starts to appear at five to six weeks of age.

Aardvarks are native to sub-Saharan Africa and spend their days hidden in burrows. At night, they emerge and search for ants and termites to eat. Aardvarks’ huge claws dig small trenches in the soil as they sniff and listen for insect activity. Using the long, sticky tongue, Aardvarks lick up thousands of ants and termites – as many as 50,000 per night.

Bioparc Valencia houses the only reproductive group of Aardvarks in Spain.




Prague Zoo’s New Aardvark on Exhibit with Mom

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Prague Zoo announced that visitors might be able to catch a glimpse of the zoo’s new baby Aardvark. The cub was born on April 22 and will now be on-exhibit, with mom, for a few hours each day.

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4_32191933_1697232347027355_7189550399081152512_oPhoto Credits: Prague Zoo

The Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal that is native to Africa. Elephant Shrews, Hyraxes, and Elephants are among the closest living relatives of the Aardvark.

It has a long pig-like snout, which is used to sniff out food. It is a nocturnal feeder and subsists mainly on ants and termites, which it will dig out of their hills using its sharp claws and powerful legs.

The Aardvark also digs to create burrows in which to live and rear its young.

After a gestation of about seven months, females generally give birth to one cub. At around nine weeks of age, the youngster is able to leave the burrow to accompany mother in search of food.

Although they are not considered common anywhere in Africa, their large range allows them to maintain sufficient numbers. The IUCN currently classifies the Aardvark as “Least Concern”; however, they are a species in a precarious situation. Since they are so dependent on such a specific food source, if a problem arises with the population of termites, the species as a whole would be affected drastically.


Aadorable Aardvark Born at Cincinnati Zoo

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Meet the latest “aaddition” to the Cincinnati Zoo: a little male Aardvark! Born on December 21 to mom Ali, the newborn is healthy and weighs just over four pounds. For now, the baby is bonding with Ali behind the scenes.

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25994936_10155813418620479_485975902406650425_nPhoto Credit: Cincinnati Zoo

Aardvarks are mammals, so the babies nurse from their mothers. They are nocturnal creatures, emerging from burrows at sunset to feed on ants at termites all night long. Aardvarks are found in all types of habitats south of Africa’s Sahara Desert.

The Aardvark’s long snout is held close to the ground while foraging for food. Once ants or termites are detected, they Aardvark uses its strong foreclaws to dig out enough dirt to reveal the insects. Using its long, sticky tongue, the Aardvark can collect up to 50,000 insects in a single night. The large ears remain upright, helping to detect predators while the Aardvark is feeding.

Aardvarks are not listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as being under threat, but some believe their numbers may be declining.

 


Aardvark Arrives for Bioparc Valencia’s Anniversary

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On January 28, an Aardvark was born at BIOPARC Valencia in Spain. The birth increased the number of this particular family at the park to a total of five, which includes the parents and two other females (also born in the park).

The new mom is taking excellent care of the new cub, and staff reports that supplemental care and feeding are not required for the new Aardvark. However, keepers constantly monitor the cub’s weight and work to assure that the appropriate temperature and humidity are provided in the new families den. Every night a thorough review of the animal takes place and the cub is cleaned, weighed and its skin is moisturized.

If the cub continues the current healthy pattern of growth and development, he may be placed on-exhibit in time for the park’s 9th anniversary. (In February, BIOPARC Valencia celebrates 9 years of love for nature and will show their appreciation to the public by offering discounted admission rates.)

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4_Bebé oricteropo - cerdo hormiguero - recién nacido en BIOPARC Valencia bjPhoto Credits: BIOPARC Valencia

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New Aardvark Cub for BIOPARC Valencia

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BIOPARC Valencia is the first zoo in Spain to breed the Aardvark. On March 4, they welcomed a new member of this rare species.

The new cub spends valuable time with his attentive mother, but zoo staff follow special protocol in monitoring the new baby. Keepers work to ensure the proper cleanliness of the baby and also provide special care for his skin, which includes needed moisturization and a special humidifier. During the day, while mother is sleeping, staff keep a careful eye to maintain that the baby is nursing every two hours.

The new cub was the zoo’s first baby for the month of March. The cub and mother are currently off-exhibit, but, with the continued healthy progress of the baby, staff anticipate visitors being able to view them very soon.

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4_Oricteropos - cerdos hormigueros - madre junto a su cría de 3 días de vida - BIOPARC ValenciaPhoto Credits: BIOPARC Valencia

 

The Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal that is native to Africa. It is the only living species of the order Tubulidentata.

According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature): “Aardvarks were originally thought to be congeneric with the South American Anteaters (Myrmecophaga), until they were put in their own genus: Orycteropus. After 1872, Aardvarks were also put in their own order: the Tubulidentata. But this order was long considered to be closely related to the Xenarthrans and the Pangolins in the now obsolete clade "Edentata" (Lehmann 2007). It is only since the beginning of the 20th century, that Aardvarks have been considered to be basal "ungulates". It was also at this time that the seven then recognized species were merged into the single species Orycteropus afer (Shoshani et al. 1988). Since then, Tubulidentata is the only order of Mammals to be represented by a single living species. To date, 18 subspecies have been described (Meester 1971). However, their validity is doubtful and studies in this regard are ongoing. Finally, at the turn of the millennium, molecular phylogenetic analyses integrated the Aardvarks into the new super-cohort Afrotheria, next to Elephants, Hyraxes, Sea-cows, Sengis, Tenrecs, and Golden Moles.”

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Baby Aardvark's Big Adventure

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A baby Aardvark born last summer at the Prague Zoo recently explored his outdoor enclosure for the first time with his mother, Kvida.

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The baby, named Kito, munched on some tasty mealworms - an Aardvark favorite - during his big adventure.  Kito’s expedition took place on a recent sunny winter day, and keepers report that Kito was very curious about his surroundings.  He climbed over logs and squeezed in between rocks, testing his skills.  Weighing nearly 50 pounds, Kito is strong and healthy. In the wild, baby Aardvarks remain with their mothers for about a year before moving off to live on their own. 

Aardvarks are native to Africa, where they emerge from burrows at night to feed on ants and termites.  They break open termite mounds using powerful font legs, and insects are taken up using their long, sticky tongue.   Up to 50,000 insects can be consumed in one night.

At this time, Aardvarks are not under threat, and so are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


New Aardvark for the New Year at Burgers’ Zoo

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Burgers’ Zoo, in the Netherlands, recently welcomed an adorable wrinkled new resident. A baby Aardvark was born the beginning of February!

The cub is healthy and has been tended carefully by mom and monitored by zookeepers.

Burgers’ Zoo, under the authority of the EAZA, manages the European breeding program for the Aardvark. They are the only zoo in the Netherlands to house this special species.

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4_DSC00258Photo Credits: Burgers' Zoo

 

 

The Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal that is native to Africa. It is the only living species of the order Tubulidentata.

According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature): “Aardvarks were originally thought to be congeneric with the South American Anteaters (Myrmecophaga), until they were put in their own genus: Orycteropus. After 1872, Aardvarks were also put in their own order: the Tubulidentata. But this order was long considered to be closely related to the Xenarthrans and the Pangolins in the now obsolete clade "Edentata" (Lehmann 2007). It is only since the beginning of the 20th century, that Aardvarks have been considered to be basal "ungulates". It was also at this time that the seven then recognized species were merged into the single species Orycteropus afer (Shoshani et al. 1988). Since then, Tubulidentata is the only order of Mammals to be represented by a single living species. To date, 18 subspecies have been described (Meester 1971). However, their validity is doubtful and studies in this regard are ongoing. Finally, at the turn of the millennium, molecular phylogenetic analyses integrated the Aardvarks into the new super-cohort Afrotheria, next to Elephants, Hyraxes, Sea-cows, Sengis, Tenrecs, and Golden Moles.”

The Aardvark is stout with a prominently arched back and is sparsely covered in coarse hair. The limbs are moderate length, with the rear legs being longer than the forelegs. Their weight is typically between 130 and 180 lbs. (60 and 80 kg). Their length is usually between 3.44 and 4.27 feet (105 and 130 cm). They are typically 24 inches tall (60 cm). The Aardvark is pale yellowish gray in color and often stained reddish brown by soil it sorts through. The coat is thin, and the skin is tough.

The Aardvark is nocturnal and feeds almost exclusively on ants and termites. They will emerge from their burrow in late afternoon and forage for food over a range of about 6 to 18 miles from home. While foraging, they keep the nose to ground and ears pointed forward. When concentrations of ants or termites are detected, the Aardvark digs into the mound with powerful front legs and will take up the insects with their long, sticky tongue. It is possible for the animal to take in as many as 50,000 ants and termites in one night.

Continue reading "New Aardvark for the New Year at Burgers’ Zoo" »


‘A’ Is for Aardvark at Burgers’ Zoo

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Burgers’ Zoo, in the Netherlands, recently welcomed a new Aardvark cub! The healthy baby was born the end of July and has been carefully monitored by zookeepers.

Burgers’ Zoo, under the authority of the EAZA, manages the European breeding program for the Aardvark. They are the only zoo in the Netherlands to house this special species.

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3_11807685_1008322749240617_8542890582731456660_oPhoto Credits: Burgers' Zoo

The Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal that is native to Africa. It is the only living species of the order Tubulidentata.

The Aardvark is stout with a prominently arched back and is sparsely covered in coarse hair. The limbs are moderate length, with the rear legs being longer than the forelegs. Their weight is typically between 130 and 180 lbs. (60 and 80 kg). Their length is usually between 3.44 and 4.27 feet (105 and 130 cm). They are typically 24 inches tall (60 cm). The Aardvark is pale yellowish gray in color and often stained reddish brown by soil it sorts through. The coat is thin, and the skin is tough.

The Aardvark is nocturnal and feeds almost exclusively on ants and termites. They will emerge from their burrow in late afternoon and forage for food over a range of about 6 to 18 miles from home. While foraging, they keep the nose to ground and ears pointed forward. When concentrations of ants or termites are detected, the Aardvark digs into the mound with powerful front legs and will take up the insects with their long, sticky tongue. It is possible for the animal to take in as many as 50,000 ants and termites in one night.

The Aardvark is mostly quiet, but will make soft grunting sounds as it forages and louder grunts when engaged in burrowing.

Aardvarks have a gestation of about seven months. They generally give birth to a single cub from May to July. When born, the young have flaccid ears and many wrinkles. After two weeks, the folds of skin disappear and after three weeks the ears are upright. At 5-6 weeks, body hair starts growing. They are weaned by about 16 weeks, and can dig their own burrow by 6 months of age. The young often remain with the mother till the next mating season.

The Aardvark is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. However, they are a species in a precarious situation and are declining in number as their food supplies begin to dwindle.