noun \ˈärd-ˌvärk\

: a large African animal that has a long nose and that eats ants and other insects

Full Definition of AARDVARK

:  a large burrowing nocturnal mammal (Orycteropus afer) of sub-Saharan Africa that has a long snout, extensible tongue, powerful claws, large ears, and heavy tail and feeds especially on termites and ants

Illustration of AARDVARK

Origin of AARDVARK

obsolete Afrikaans (now erdvark), from Afrikaans aard earth + vark pig
First Known Use: 1822

Other Mammals Terms

dormouse, dugong, gibbon, grimalkin, sable, stoat, ungulate, vole


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

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


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