Aardvarks have elongated, or stretched-out, heads with a pig-like snout and tubular ears. Their muscular, arched bodies are protected by a thick, grayish brown skin that is covered with bristles. The front feet have four toes as well as sharp claws, while the back feet have five toes. The cone-shaped tail is short and tapered, smaller at the end. The long tongue is sticky to help catch insects. Adult aardvarks are 67 to 79 inches (170 to 200 centimeters) long and weigh anywhere from 88 to 143 pounds (40 to 65 kilograms).
The word aardvark means "earth pig" in Dutch. In addition to having a pig-like snout, this mammal resembles a pig in the way it uses its front feet to dig. Like the tail, the snout tapers at the end, and it has two nostrils that can be closed. Although the legs are short, they are powerful—strong enough to break through rock-solid termite mounds. The back legs are slightly longer than the front legs. Despite having soles on the hind feet, aardvarks move on their toes and use the front feet, with their long claws, for digging.
Adults have about twenty teeth, and they are located in the back of the mouth. These column-shaped teeth grow throughout the aardvark's lifetime and, unlike human teeth, do not have protective enamel coating. Instead, each tooth is made of dentin, a material that is harder than bone.