Midnight Hunt

An aardvark’s night out — and a look into its ancestry.

Nevin Katz
Snipette
Published in
8 min readSep 30, 2022

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Four hours after sunset, in a patch of dry savanna in Sub-Saharan Africa, an aardvark emerges from the south entrance of its burrow.

It turns and looks back at it with pride. This subterranean network of chambers is its own handiwork. It has sculpted the labyrinthine interior with its powerful claws, and has carved out a new chamber in the past month.

The aardvark leaves its abode and roams the plains of the savanna looking for termites and ants. But it is not the only one looking for food. Its rabbit-like ears pick up a rustling in the nearby overgrown vegetation to the west. Remembering this sound from a lion that it had narrowly escaped, it turns and heads east.

As our lone mammal travels across the dry expanse, it swings its snout from side to side, hoping to detect the scent of termites or ants. After a half-hour of searching, it picks up a scent and soon finds a termite mound protruding up from the ground. It digs into the ground to unearth their stronghold. Once it spots the little bugs, it extends its 12-inch-long tongue. Within seconds, it slurps up hundreds of termites.

I have always found the aardvark to be a unique and fascinating creature. The word “Aardvark” is Afrikaans for “earth pig”. Also known as the “ant…

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Nevin Katz
Snipette

Developer at EDC. I write about web development and biology. Subscribe at https://buttondown.email/nevkatz for article roundups.