A video of an aardvark taken during evening safari on the 7th of June 2016. The guests that saw it must count their lucky stars as they are very seldom seen. Aardvarks only start to get active after 20h00 when our safari cruisers are already back at camp and hungry guests are getting ready for dinner. We see them more often in winter as they seem to leave their burrows earlier. They feed mostly on termites during the summer and ants during winter and it might be that they leave earlier in winter as food is scarcer.
They are perfectly adapted with long claws on their front paws to dig through the cement-like harness of a termite mound. Great sense of smell and large ears help them to locate their food. A long tongue covered in sticky saliva acts like a glue as they lap termites and ants up. They prefer eggs, larvae and workers instead of the soldiers and seem immune to their sting except for a head shake every now and then.
They sleep inside burrows, usually dug inside termite mounds, which have a long narrow entrance tunnel that opens into a larger chamber. It can be used repeatedly. Soil often gets deposited from the inside, nearly closing the entrance to provide bigger safety. Any threat would be countered by just digging deeper as their speed of excavation is far superior to any predator. Predators encountered during their nightly foraging might include leopards, lions and hyenas. The defense of an aardvark is simple , either run for the nearest burrow or start digging to China.
Abandoned burrows provide shelter for 17 different mammals, 2 reptiles, snakes and a couple of birds. Theses will include hyenas, civets, jackals, warthogs, bats, cats, owls and kingfishers. An aardvark obviously plays a very important part in our ecosystem and is one of my favorite animals.