Aardvark

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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3_Bebé oricteropo - cerdo hormiguero - recién nacido en BIOPARC Valencia (2) bj

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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3_Bebé oricteropo con 3 días de vida - BIOPARC Valencia (2)

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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12716273_955971561153441_1304517961057498001_oPhoto Credit:  Prague Zoo

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.

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‘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.


Colchester Zoo Welcomes Last Newborn of 2014

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On December 22, 2014, Colchester Zoo’s Aardvark, ‘Oq’, gave birth to a healthy baby! 

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DSC_1227Photo Credits: Colchester Zoo

The exciting new arrival was the Zoo's last newborn of 2014 and is doing well! Both mom and keepers have a close eye on the baby during these early days.

The Aardvark is a unique animal, only found in Africa. They are almost exclusively nocturnal and love to sleep during the day, curled in a tight circle in their burrow. 

Aardvarks, such as Colchester Zoo’s group, have thick skin which is sparsely covered by hairs and varies in color from brownish grey to a pale sand. The newest little one is currently a hairless light grey, but within 12 months, it will be fully grown, just like its mother, and will soon be venturing out of the burrow. 

Aardvarks enjoy a diet mainly made up of insects, such as ants and termites. Once fully grown, an adult Aardvark can eat up to 50,000 of insect prey in one night!

The new arrival also joins the Zoo’s two other resident females ‘Puq’ and ‘Skyla’, and its dad ‘Adela’ can be seen at Colchester Zoo’s Aardvark Burrow.

With the latest arrival this group continues to be the most successful breeding group in the UK and one of the most successful groups in Europe. 


Aardvark Aarives at Detroit Zoo

Aardvark Kaatie (3) by Tom Roy

A female Aardvark born at the Detroit Zoo on February 11 weighed less than four pounds at birth and has since more than quadrupled in size. The baby, named Kaatie, is the third offspring for 10-year-old Rachaael and 11-year-old Mchimbaji.

Aardvark Kaatie (1) by Tom Roy
Aardvark Kaatie (4) by Tom Roy
Aardvark Kaatie (2) by Tom RoyPhoto Credit:  Tom Ray

“Kaatie is healthy and adorable, and seems to be enjoying her time with mom, nestling in close and nursing throughout the day,” said Detroit Zoological Society Curator of Mammals Elizabeth Arbaugh. 

Animal care staff have been monitoring Rachaael and Kaatie closely since the calf was born. Aardvarks are small and fragile at birth, and the mothers are sometimes clumsy and can accidentally injure their little ones. “We are ready to intervene should mom decide to roll over or get up for a snack,” said Arbaugh. 

The Aardvark is an African mammal whose name derives from the Afrikaans word “earth pig.” The animal’s unusual appearance plays a role in its success as a forager. Its large ears point forward, enabling it to hear tasty insects during nocturnal feeding forays. The snout is long and filled with hair that acts as a filter, letting scents in and keeping dirt out. Strong limbs and spoon-shaped claws can tear though the sturdiest of termite mounds, allowing the Aardvark to trap insects with its sticky tongue, which can be up to 12 inches long. 


Take a Peek into an Aardvark Den

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A warm welcome to this little Aardvark born at Bioparc Valencia in Spain! The cub was born on January 25. 

After a gestation period of about seven months, Aardvarks give birth to a single cub, born hairless with floppy ears and wrinkled skin. Their ears perk up at about three weeks old. This little guy is starting to grow hair, and will be weaned by three months old.

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4 aardvarkPhoto credits: Bioparc Valencia

Aardvarks live in sub-Saharan Africa in a range of ecosystems, from savannas to woodlands and bushlands. They eat ants and termites. They are also important seed dispersers for the Aardvark cucumber, the only kind of fruit that they eat. 

They are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a species of Least Concern. However, some populations may be in decline. It is difficult to keep track of their population numbers because Aardvarks are elusive and active at night. 

See more photos after the fold!

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Another Aardvark Calf for Colchester Zoo

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Colchester Zoo’s group of Aardvarks welcomed a healthy offspring on March 15, adding to the most successful Aardvark breeding program in the United Kingdom, and one of the most successful groups in Europe. The calf, whose gender has not been confirmed, was born to female Aardvark Oq.

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Photo Credit:  Colchester Zoo

Sarah Forsyth, one of Colchester Zoo’s curators, said, “We believe the baby is female and she has grown a great deal already! She is starting to venture into the outside enclosure at night and as usual, Oq is proving to be a great mother.” The new arrival will be named by keepers once the sex is confirmed.

Oq and baby are currently housed in the birthing burrow while the baby grows stronger. When the youngster is strong enough, they will join the rest of the group, who are notoriously clumsy. Until Oq and baby join the group on exhibit, visitors can see them via closed circuit television.

Aardvarks are native to grasslands and open woodlands throughout sub-Saharan Africa. They feed on ants, termites, and fruits. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Aardvarks are listed as Vulnerable due to changes in land use and intensive crop farming.



Antwerp Zoo's Baby Aardvark Gets A Little TLC

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Last week, Antwerp Zoo in Belgium welcomed a pink, wrinkly and bald bundle of joy. Born to mom Curly, the baby Aardvark is recieving around the clock care from keepers. Though its upright ears and weight are a sign of good health, nursing has been a challenge for Curly. The cub feeds every three hours, and the keepers must often hand-nurse. Currently the sex of the cub is unknown. Once the sex has been determined, a name will be selected.

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There are currently 45 Aardvarks in zoos throughout Europe and only about 30 in the US. Aadrvarks are native to sub-Saharan African, where they eat ants, termites, fruits and other insects. The name Aardvark comes from the Afrikaans word "erdvark", meaning "earth pig", likely due to the animals ability to dig and burrow.

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Photo Credit ZOO Antwerpen / Jonas Verhulst