Aardvark

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Aardvark

AardvarkOriginal.png

Character Data
Also known as: African ant bear, anteater, Cape anteater
Japanese Name: ツチブタ
Romanised Name: tsuchibuta
First Featured in: Kemono Friends 3
Animal Data
Scientific Name: Orycteropus afer
Distribution: Subsaharan Africa
Diet: Insectivore
Average Lifespan in the Wild: 18-24 years
Read More: Aardvark
Conservation Status: Status iucn3.1 LC.svg.png
Aardvark KF3

Aardvark is a type of mammal Friend. She is one of the two new Friends revealed for the Nonhoi Park Collaboration with Kemono Friends 3 on August 11, 2023.

Appearance

Aardvark has a very sweet appearance; she has dark brown, soft set eyes and a fair complexion. Her hair is a silver-gray hue, and extends all the way to her mid-back. Long, sweepy bangs frame her face. The left bang is slightly longer, with a black tip and pink "spade"-shaped clip, likely representing the real life animal's signature nose. Two large, tubular ears sit on top of her head.

The clothes are fairly simple, starting with a white button up crop top and a black collar bow. Her off-white shorts have flared edges and are clipped up with black suspenders. On her arms have opera-length, fingerless, black gloves. Her legs have loose fitting thigh-high socks in the same shade of black. Tiny purple ribbons adorn her gloves and socks. Lastly, her long, thick tail hangs behind her, and is the same shade of silver-gray as her hair.

Series Appearances

Appearances In Kemono Friends Media
Media Role
2019Kemono Friends 3 Minor character, playable character

In Real Life

An aardvark in Royal Burgers' Zoo, Netherlands. Photo by Theo Kruse, 2019.

The aardvark (Orycteropus afer) is a medium-sized nocturnal mammal native to Africa. It is the only living species of the order Tubulidentata, though there are several known extinct members of the family.

Based on fossil finds and records, paleontologist Bryan Patterson concluded that early relatives of the aardvark appeared in Africa around the end of the Paleocene era. Another clade of extinct mammals called ptolemaiidans may actually be stem-aardvarks, or where the current species stems from. This clade is either a sister clade to the Tubulidentata or is a grade leading to current Tubulidentata.

They have a very stout and stocky body with a prominently arched back. Rather than fur, the body is covered in fine, coarse hairs. Their back legs are larger and longer than their front legs, perhaps leading to their arched back. Both front legs have four "toes" whereas the rear legs have five. Each toe has a large, flat, shovel-like nail which is ideal for digging burrows.

Aardvarks are sturdily built, with a weight typically being around 60 and 80 kilograms (130–180 lbs.) and a length or around 105 and 130 centimeters (3.44–4.27 ft.). When the tail length is added (which can be up to 70 centimeters (28 in)), they can reach an impressive length of 2.2 meters (7 ft. 3 in.). The average height is 60 centimeters (24 in) tall at the shoulder.

Their noses are incredibly sensitive. The tip is highly mobile and can be moved by modified mimetic muscles. The snout is made up of more turbinate bones than any other mammal (between 9 and 11, compared to dogs with 4 to 5). They have more olfactory bulbs than any other mammal, nine total. The olfactory lobe in the brain is highly developed. All these traits combined give the aardvark an excellent sense of smell.

An aardvark emerging from a burrow, covered in dirt. Photo by Louise Joubert.

Aardvarks are found in sub-Saharan Africa, where appropriate habitats and food are available. These habitats include savannas, grasslands, woodlands and bushlands. The only habitats they tend to avoid are swamp areas (too much water to dig) and rocky terrain (prevents digging burrows). Their main food source is ants and termites, which they extract with a long, proboscis-like tongue. Daylight hours are spent in dark burrows to avoid the heat. The highest elevation they've ever been found is 3,200 meters (10,500 ft.) in Ethiopia. They are not found in Madagascar.

A skeleton of an aardvark, displaying its prominently arched spine. Photo by user Polyoutis.

The main food source is mites and termites. The only exception is the singular fruit they eat- the aardvark cucumber. In fact, the Aardvark and the fruit have something of a symbiotic relationship: the animal eats the fruit, and the seeds that are passed through the digestive system are spread to loose and fertile soil to grow. However due to the Aardvark's strict dietary requirements, they need vast quantities to survive. As such, they have a wide territory range to ensure they have enough to eat.

Solitary by nature, Aardvarks only pair up for the breeding season. Gestation lasts for about seven months, after which a single offspring is born. The baby's ears are floppy right after birth, but after about three weeks will perk up. They can start eating termites after nine weeks.

Aardvarks were thought to have declining numbers, however this is possibly because they are not readily seen. Due to their nocturnal and secretive habits, there are no definitive numbers. However, their numbers overall seem to be stable. They are not considered "common" anywhere in Africa, but due to their large range, they've been able to maintain sufficient numbers. Southern African numbers are not decreasing, but there may be a slight decrease in numbers in eastern, northern, and western Africa.

With all of this data in mind, the Aardvark has received an official designation from the IUCN as least concern.

Trivia

  • Other names include the "African ant bear", "anteater", and "Cape anteater".
  • The name "aardvark" is Afrikaans, coming from the old Afrikaans word erdvark which means "earth pig" or "ground pig".
  • Aardvarks are afrotheres, a clade which also includes elephants, manatees, and hyraxes.
  • The Aardvark has seventeen (albeit poorly defined) subspecies.
  • Despite having a vaguely pig-like appearance, they are not related to the Sus genus of pigs, wild or domesticated.
  • Aardvarks have an unusual lineage, in that they have very little fossil records to go off of past a certain point. They have been dubbed a "ghost lineage" (A line of descent that has left no traces in the fossil record).
  • Genetically speaking, the aardvark is a living fossil, as its chromosomes are highly conserved, reflecting much of the early eutherian arrangement before the divergence of the major modern species.
  • The highest number of insects consumed by a single Aardvark in one night was around 50,000.
  • Aardvarks are surprisingly good swimmers.
  • The first zoo to have an Aardvark was London Zoo in 1869.

References

  • Aardvark Wikipedia Page
  • Taylor, A.; Lehmann, T. (2015). "Orycteropus afer". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2015: e.T41504A21286437. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T41504A21286437.en
  • Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Aardvark". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc.
  • van Aarde, Rudi J. (1984). "Aardvark". In Macdonald, David (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York, NY: Facts on File Publications. ISBN 978-0-87196-871-5.
  • Schlitter, D.A. (2005). "Order Tubulidentata". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  • Goodwin, George G. (1997). "Aardvark". In Johnston, Bernard (ed.). Collier's Encyclopedia. Vol. I: A to Ameland (1st ed.). New York, NY: P.F. Collier. ISBN 978-1571610935.
  • www.evofossil.com
  • Anon (20 January 2003). "Great Uncle Aardvark?". BBC News. Archived from the original on 7 February 2008. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  • African Wildlife Foundation
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