For guests recently staying at the Samara Private Game Reserve, in the Karoo, they have been most fortunate to have been treated to a number of rare sightings on game drives of the the usually elusive and nocturnal aardvark.
Much to the everyones surprise, these odd-looking but enchanting creatures have also been spotted during the day, foraging for food. One reason that has been put forward is that because of the unusually dry winter, the animals are having to come out of their burrows earlier than usual to search for more food.
The name aardvark is actually Afrikaans, meaning “earth pig” which is a very accurate description ! Not only do they have a pig-like appearance, they also live in deep burrows dug with their powerful legs and claws. They spend the days underground but normally venture out after sunset into the cooler temperatures to hunt for insects, particularly termites, which they use their long, sticky tongues to catch. These tongues can measure up to 30 cm !
Aardvark’s normally weigh between 50 and 80 kg and can measure up to 2.5 m. The female aardvark usually gives birth to one baby each year and this baby stays with her for about 6 months before moving on to dig it’s own burrow.