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Aardvark (Orycteropus afer).—Shostal Associates
Heavily built mammal (Orycteropus afer) of sub-Saharan forests and plains. Its stout, piglike body (aardvark is Afrikaans for earth pig) may be as long as 6 ft (1.8 m), including a 2-ft (60-cm) tail. It has a long snout, rabbitlike ears, short legs, and long toes with large, flattened claws. It feeds at night by ripping open ant and termite nests and lapping up the insects with a long (1-ft, or 30-cm), sticky tongue. Though not aggressive, it uses claws to fight off attackers. Its classification with regard to other mammals is uncertain.
Variants of AARDVARK
aardvark or African ant bear
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on aardvark, visit Britannica.com.