Aardvarks began eating termites thirty-five million years ago, and that's still their preferred meal. A hill of termites is not enough to satisfy an aardvark, however, so it searches for entire termite colonies. These colonies march in columns 33 to 130 feet (10 to 40 meters) long, which makes it easy for the aardvark to suck the termites through its nostrils. When attacking a termite mound, the aardvark starts digging at the base with his front claws. Once the termites begin escaping, it extends its tongue and traps them with its sticky saliva. Aardvarks also eat ants and locusts, a type of grasshopper.
In addition to these insects, aardvarks eat an underground fruit of the cucumber species, probably as a source of water. Cucumis humifructus is known in South Africa as the "aardvark pumpkin" or "aardvark cucumber." One tribe of native people, the !Kung San, call this plant "aardvark dung" because the aardvark buries its feces outside abandoned aardvark burrows and the plant grows from seeds left in the aardvark's feces.
- Aardvark: Tubulidentata - Behavior And Reproduction
- Aardvark: Tubulidentata - Habitat
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