22 Feb 2022.
A zoo in Cheshire, United Kingdom witnessed the birth of an aardvark calf in January 2022, for the first time in its 90-year history.
- It’s a girl aardvark, and they are “over the moon”.
- Staff have named the aardvark ‘Dobby’ because wrinkled, hairless skin and dangling ears of the calf seemed to remind of Harry Potter character by that name.
- She was born on January 4, 2022; however, zoo declared its gender recently.
Who Are Aardvarks?
- The aardvark is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal. It is native to Africa. It is the only living species of Tubulidentata order.
- It has a long pig-like snout, used to sniff out food. It roams across most of the southern two-thirds of African continent.
- It avoids areas that are rocky. It is a nocturnal feeder, that subsists on ants and termites, digging out of their hills using its powerful legs and sharp claws.
- It also digs to create burrows to live and rear its young. Aardvarks are afrotheres, a clade that also includes elephants, hyraxes and manatees.
- The animal has been listed as “least concern” by the IUCN, even though its numbers are decreasing. Zoos across Europe only have 66 aardvarks.
- Their population in the wild is declining because of encroachment of their habitats by humans. They are also hunted for meat.
Features of the animal
- Aardvarks are nocturnal animals. They use their long noses and keen sense of smell to sniff out termites and ants.
- They have a long tongue, up to 25 cm in length. It is covered in sticky saliva.
- They also have powerful claws that they use to dig underground burrows to sleep in or tear open termite mounds