Aardvark walking at night


Aardvarks are incredible diggers, so well equipped with powerful spoon shaped claws they can dig a hole faster than several men with shovels. They are elusive, nocturnal, pig-like creatures, widely distributed in sub-saharan Africa, and that live on a diet of ants and termites. They have long extensible tongues and flexible tubular snouts - perfect tools for sucking up over 50,000 insects in one sitting, which they then swallow whole.

Scientific name: Orycteropus afer

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Antbear,
  • Anteater,
  • Cape anteater,
  • Earth hog,
  • Earth pig

Watch video clips from past programmes (1 clip)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.


Map showing the distribution of the Aardvark taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Aardvark can be found in a number of locations including: Africa. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Aardvark distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Unknown

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Mammals
  5. Tubulidentata
  6. Orycteropodidae
  7. Orycteropus
  8. Aardvark

BBC News about Aardvark