Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ABC Wednesday: A is for...

Can you guess the animal? It's not a pig, although if you translate its name, it means earth pig. It has no close relatives, but it is related to elephants, manatis/dugongs and elephant shrews. If you want to know if you have guessed right,take a look behind the break:

It's an aardvark (the name is Afrikaans). The extremely elongated snout and the sticky tongue are an adaptation to its diet: ants and termites. Aardvarks are powerful diggers who can break open a termite mound without problems. heir thick skin makes them impervious to the insects' bites. They even sometimes sleep in ants nests they have just robbed.

They have four toes on their front legs, but five on their back legs. An aardvark weighs between 40 and 60 kilograms and including the tail, they can reach a length of over 2 metres.

Source: Wikipedia
They give birth to a single baby that stays with the mother for six months, sometimes a year. They can reach an age of 25 years in captivity. Aardvarks have a powerful sense of smell and very keen hearing, the big ears are useful to listen for predators such as leopards or lions while the aardvark is busy digging up an ants nest. They are also very fast runners and will try to run for cover into their burrow (or quickly dig a new one) if attacked. Once inside, they attack with their claws.

There are a few famous fictional aardvarks, for example Cerebus and Die blaue Elise (The blue Eliza). It it's original form (The Ant and the Aardvark), the aardvark was male and had no name, but for some reason in the German version it's female and named Elise. Probably due to the awesome voice acting of Marianne Wishmann (who also voiced the German Miss Piggy), the series developed a cult following here.

See what else A stands for with ABC Wednesday

Photos of the mounted aardvark were taken at the Zologisches Museum Hamburg, of the sleeping aardvark at Burgers Zoo.


Sylvia K said...

What a fun, terrific post for the A Day!! I love it! And what a NOSE! Marvelous photos and information, Jennifer! Hope your week is going well! Enjoy!

ABC Team

Carver said...

Great choice. I thought it looked like an elephant until I clicked to read more. Actually it does look like an elephant in a way and interesting to read that aardvarks are related to elephants. Very informative and wonderful shots.

Reader Wil said...

Hi Jennifer! I knew it was an aardvark, though I've never seen one in reality. What an interesting animal. Thank you for showing! your post is very instructive.
You know that Amersfoort, the place I wrote about, has a very beautiful Zoo too?

Roger Owen Green said...

yes, I knew, mostly because I used to read the dictionary - earth pig was the tipoff.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Kay L. Davies said...

I could tell by the nose, even though I've never actually met one.
I agree with Carver, it does look like an elephant's nose. Precisely the A post I'd have expected from you.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Gigi Ann said...

I recognized the nose, it takes one nose to recognize another nose. Fun A post today.

VioletSky said...

Like Roger, I used to read the dictionary and aardvark as a word always fascinated me!

richies said...

I think you should get extra points for AArdvark. That's two a's

An Arkies Musings

Joy said...

No I wouldn't have recognised it, I've always thought of its snout being long and think. Fascinating creatures.

photowannabe said...

Strange snout but an interesting post. I don't think I have seen an aardvark in real life though.

Wanda said...

He's a good candidate for a "Nose Job"

Great way to start this new Round.

Tumblewords: said...

Amazed to see how long that 'pig' nose is. :) Great shots and wonderful narrative.

jabblog said...

Thanks to you I've learnt a lot more about the aardvark than just its diet. Thank you:-)

Marvin said...

An excellent post and very interesting "A". Aardvark would certainly have a listing near the beginning of a telephone directory.

Pagan Sphinx said...

A most excellent and fun post!

caroline said...

oh amazing post! and informative too..

NicoleB, Kuwait said...

That's fascinating!
I've never seen or heard of this animal before - thanks!

Rambling Woods said...

I didn't know...how interesting.. I wanted to let you know that my mother-in-law called to thank me and you for your work on her family.. she really appreciates it....Michelle

Jedediah said...

Michelle, you are welcome. I'm glad I could help!