Originating in Africa, the aardvark (Orycteropus afer) is a unique mammal. They are extensively dispersed over the Congo Basin, Senegal, Ethiopia, and South Africa, all located south of the Sahara. In the meantime, they are not found in Madagascar, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Namibia, or the Namib and Sahara deserts. However, the distribution and richness of suitable habitat and prey have a major role in determining the local population density and distribution.
Of all the mammals in the Tubulidentata order, the aardvark is the only survivor. It is now the planet’s most evolutionarily distinct animal! The Afroinsectivora clade, which also contains tenrecs, elephant shrews, golden moles, and otter shrews, is home to their closest living relatives.
Every newborn aardvark is unique and guarantees the survival of this amazing species because they carry so much distinct evolutionary history in their genes! These ten adorable photos and six fascinating facts about infant aardvarks will make your day.
1. Aardvark Mothers Are Pregnant For About 7 Months and Usually Have Just One Baby at a Time
Twins are unusual for aardvarks, who typically give birth to just one young at a time. The baby has no hair, is pink, and wrinkled; hair does not begin to grow until the infant is five to six weeks old. But it has eyes wide open from birth.
2. Baby Aardvarks Are Raised Solely By Their Moms
Aardvarks are solitary animals in general, with the exception of mating season. Males and females are only together for a short time during mating season; after that, the males are not active in raising the young. After spending its first two weeks of life safely inside its burrow, a newborn aardvark starts to go with its mother on her nighttime feeding excursions in search of termites and ants.
3. Baby Aardvarks Are Weaned Around 3 – 4 Months Old
Adarrarchs, like all other mammals, nurse their young by swallowing their mother’s milk. However, after three or four months of age, they will stop drinking milk and start to eat ants and termites with their mother.
4. Baby Aardvarks Can Dig Their Own Burrows When They Are Around 6 Months Old
When aardvarks are old enough to dig their own burrows and feed themselves, they can live alone, but until the next mating season, they typically remain with their mothers.
5. Baby Aardvarks Reach Adult Size By Around 1 Year Old
Aardvarks take around a year to attain sexual maturity, but they are fully matured beyond that time. A mature aardvark can weigh between 40 and 100 kg (88 and 220 lbs) and grow to a length of 1.4 to 2.2 m (4.6 to 7.2 ft). Males are often slightly bigger and heavier than females.
6. Aardvarks Have An Average Lifespan of About 18 Years in the Wild and 23 Years in Captivity
The record-holding longest-living aardvark reached the remarkable age of 29 years and 9 months!
Aardvarks typically give birth to a single, pink, wrinkled, hairless young after a gestation period of roughly seven months. Aardvark pups are raised exclusively by their moms. After two weeks, they exit the burrow; they are weaned between three and four months; at six months, they are able to dig their own tunnels; nonetheless, they typically remain with their moms until the next mating season. By the time they are two years old, they have reached full development and grown to adult size. In the wild, aardvarks live an average of eighteen years, but in captivity, they average twenty-three years. The longest-living aardvark on record lasted close to thirty years.