Saturday, August 15, 2009

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Aardvarks * But Were Afraid to Ask

African Wildlife Foundation

"Aardvarks are nocturnal, usually waiting until dark before they emerge from their burrows. Their night-time travels average one to three miles but can range up to 18 miles a night.

"Physical Characteristics

"The name aardvark comes from a word meaning 'earth pig.' Although the aardvark, endemic to Africa, shares some similarities with the South American anteater, the two are not related. The last survivor of a group of primitive ungulates, the aardvark could more accurately be called a near-ungulate that has developed powerful claws...."

It's a pretty good introduction to aardvarks: including their nightlife.

"...Aardvarks are mostly solitary and nocturnal, but sometimes will come out during the day to sun themselves. When aardvarks sleep, they block the entrance to their burrow..."

I think many of us have known someone like that.

And, "Predators and Threats". Naturally, human beings top the list: Captain Planet has done his work well. We like the taste of aardvark: but so do lions, hyenas, leopards and pythons.

The page appears to have two photos of aardvarks: until you notice that one is a mirror-image of part of the banner image. It's enough to show what these nocturnal animals look like, though.

Seriously? Although this page will probably not satisfy the dedicated student of orycteropus afer, it's a pretty good compilation of the physical characteristics, habitat, behavior and diet of these odd-looking critters.
About this post's title.

The phrase, "everything you wanted to know about [noun] but were afraid to ask," is still very widely used. To the best of my knowledge, its wide use (over-use?) comes from the Woody Allen film, "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask" (1972), the movie version of "Everything you always wanted to know about sex*" by Dr. David Reuben, 1970. In the dialect of that era, groovy.

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