An Aardvark Makes a Rare Daytime Appearance


Aug 24 2016
 
An aardvark is seldom seen on a game drive due to their nocturnal behaviour. If it is on your wildlife bucket-list your chances of spotting them would be foraging at night-time. This particular sighting took place in the early afternoon during the winter months in the Kalahari.  Johan van Zyl, an expert guide and wildlife photographer was out scouting for cheetah when he spotted what looked like a warthog. On closer inspection they found a relaxed aardvark digging and seeking out termites right next to their vehicle. To experience similar sightings or for an awesome wildlife safari contact Latest Sightings Vacations for a consultation. 
 
 
Johan says, “The aardvark was using its powerful forelegs and claws to excavate the burrows”. They locate their food source via scent and use their long sticky tongue to catch the termites. A direct translation of “aardvark” from the Afrikaans word to English is “earthpig”, however any resemblance to the pig is purely external. 
 
If you are on the scout for an aardvark, pay close attention to termite mounds in savanna, grasslands and bushland areas away from rocks. They prefer sandy terrain for easier digging. According to Aardvark Africa their burrow systems can be extensive reaching depths of up to 3 or more metres deep, which can include several tunnels with a chamber. Generally speaking an aardvark burrow will have a huge amount of soil at the entrance.  

If you are tracking them via spoor, the aardvark has 4 toes on the forefeet, 5 on the hind. The toes are armed with stout broad claws and noticeable on the spoor are 3 toes and their claws - on both the hind and forefront. You will find the hind spoor lie really close behind the front, if not overlapping them.  
 
Antbear spoor via Liebenberg Field Guide Animal Tracks
 
Although not very vocal one can listen out for soft grunting or bleating sounds whilst they foraging for termites or ants. If you are lucky enough to spot one, also pay close attention to how the aardvark swings its head from side to side moving in a zig-zag motion trying to detect these scents. Perhaps with these tips in place you will get to spot this strange looking creature on your next bush experience. 
 
Aardvark photography by Johan van Zyl, Wild-Eye
 

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