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an order of mammals that contains one genus with a single species—the aardvark (Orycteropus afer). The body measures 1–1.5. m in length, and the tail, 0.4–0.6 m. The weight varies from 50 to 70 kg. The body is covered with bristly yellowish or brownish hairs, and the tail is naked. On the end of the elongate tubular snout is a cartilaginous muzzle. The ears are long and tubular. The anterior extremities have four digits, each bearing a large claw, while the posterior extremities have five digits. The Tubulidentata were so named because of the tubular structure of their teeth, which consist of separate prisms without enamel and which are capable of constant growth. The canines and incisors are lacking.
The aardvark is distributed in Africa, south of the Sahara, and inhabits forestless areas. It is nocturnal. A burrow up to 3 m long serves as its shelter. The animal feeds on termites and ants, which it digs out with its powerful claws and gathers with its long, sticky tongue; it also eats other insects. The aardvark mates in October and November, producing litters of one and sometimes two off spring. The life span is up to ten years. The animal is hunted for its flesh and hide. Aardvarks are diminishing in number. Fossil remains have been discovered in North America, Europe, and Madagascar.
O. L. ROSSOLIMO