Aardvark in exhibit


Scientific Name

Orycteropus afer afer






Sub-saharan and Central Africa


Grasslands and savannas

Estimated Wild Population

Aardvark in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern

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Physical Description

Aardvarks have large fleshy ears, a long tail, a prominent snout, and a long sticky tongue that can slip inside termite mounds to capture prey. These distinctive mammals have a gray body that is lightly covered in hair. They can reach up to four feet in length and weigh 120 pounds. Nocturnal, they forage for food at night and rest during the day. Solitary and territorial animals, they only come together to breed. Females give birth in their burrow and newborns remain underground for several weeks until they mature.

Interesting Fact 1

Aardvarks are powerful diggers that use their thick nails to break into termite and ant mounds in search of food.

Interesting Fact 2

"Aardvark" translates to "earth pig" in South Africa's Afrikaans language.

Interesting Fact 3

Their tongue can measure up to 11 inches long.

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Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

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Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

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Wish List

The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy. 

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Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

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