Zoo Animals



Orycteropus afer

At the Detroit Zoo
Kaatie was born in 2014, Roxaanne in 2011. Mom Rachaael came to the Detroit Zoo in 2005 and was joined by male Baji (short for Mchimbaji, which is Swahili for “one who digs for a living”) in 2008. The aardvarks enjoy eating avocados, their favorite treat, and can be seen sniffing and digging in their African Grasslands habitat across from the giraffes spring through fall.


The aardvark has a long, narrow snout; powerful claws; a kangaroo-like tail; rabbit-like ears and long, gray, tan and black hair that covers its back and abdomen. It uses its 12-inch, sticky, coiled tongue to catch insects.


Fun Facts

  • The aardvark's name comes from the Afrikaans word "earth pig".

  • The aardvark has poor eyesight and a keen sense of smell, making it well-suited for its nocturnal lifestyle.