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 seem to enjoy eating avocados, one of their preferred treats, and can be seen sniffing and digging in their African Grasslands habitat across from the giraffes spring through fall. During the cold winter months, the aardvarks, along with their pelican and swan friends, can be found inside the Grotto, located just behind the aardvark habitat.

Aardvarks have long, narrow snouts; powerful claws; kangaroo-like tails; rabbit-like ears and long, gray, tan and black hair that covers their backs and abdomens. They use their 12-inch, sticky, coiled tongues 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.