Aardvark vs Anteater (What is a Giant Anteater?)

aardvark vs anteater | anteater

What Is Aardvark?

The aardvark (Orycteropus afer) is a medium-sized, burrowing animal; it looks like a combination of different animals. The long snout of aardvark looks similar to a pig, it has rabbit likes ears, and the tail is similar to a kangaroo’s. These species got their name from the Dutch language, which means ‘earth pig.’ Aardvarks are also known as anteaters but are different from the anteater species which is native to South America.

Source: Giphy

Aardvark Facts:

  • Aardvarks have a sturdy body with a curved back; the head and neck are long and thin.
  • The long horizontal ears usually held upstanding but can be folded.
  • The hind legs are more muscular than the front legs and have tool shaped feet and claws which are perfect for digging.
  • These species have four toes on front legs and five toes on hind legs. The body color of the aardvark is yellowish-grey with short hair on the head and tail, and long fur on the legs.
  • Aardvarks play a vital role in the ecosystem as many other species prey on them and their burrow provides shelter to other animals such as African wild dogs.
  • Aardvarks are nocturnal mammals; they rest in their hole during the day time and hunt for food at night.
  • Aardvarks can dig a burrow up to 2 feet in just 15 seconds, the range of a den can be 2 to 13 meters long with several entrances. 
  • The sticky tongue of an aardvark can reach up to 12 inches.

More Aardvark Fun Facts

  • Aardvarks have a keen sense of hearing that enables them to detect their predators.
  • The main predators of these species involve wild dogs, hyenas, pythons, leopards, and lions. The thick skin of an aardvark protects them from the bites of termites.
  • These species are solitary and come together only during the time of mating.
  • The female will deliver one litter at a time after incubation for seven months.
  • At birth, the cub weighs around 4.4 pounds and weaned for three months. Aardvarks are not endangered species but are listed as least concern by the IUCN.

What Is An Anteater?

Anteater is a common name for its four extant species of the Vermilingua suborder. Anteaters are toothless creatures with an elongated snout. These species are well-known for their long tongue that can extend to a length beyond its head. The long and thin tongue of an anteater is covered with sticky saliva and armed with several tiny hooks known as filiform papillae. An anteater can flick its tongue up to 150 times per minute.

Anteater Facts:

  • As they are toothless creatures, they rely upon their stomach to break down the food.
  • Their stomach contains formic acids that grind a large number of ants and termites.
  • They have poor eyesight but an excellent sense of smell which they use to find food.
  • The fluctuating body temperature of these species ranges between 91 and 97 degrees F, which is the lowest body temperature among other mammals.
  • Anteaters are solitary animals but can be seen in groups during the breeding season. The group of anteaters is known as ‘parade.’
  • The female anteater will deliver a single offspring after a gestation of 190 days.
  • The newborn will stay with the mother for two years; the mother will carry the baby on her back during the first year.

Giant Anteater: Ant Bear

Source: Giphy

The giant anteater, also known as the ant bear, giant anteaters are the most significant member of their family. The giant anteater has relatively small eyes and a long, sticky tongue. The head of a giant anteater is thin and long with a black snout at the end. The body of these species is covered with fur, on the upper part the hair is long and furry, the under section is covered with dirty hair, the color of the coat ranges from grey to brown.

Interesting Giant Anteater Facts:

  • A giant anteater is the most abundant species; it can reach a length of 6 to 8 feet and weighs between 60 to 100 pounds.
  • Giant anteaters can be found in a variety of habitats, such as forests, grasslands, and wetlands.
  • The population of these species can be found throughout central and south America.
  • Giant anteaters are insectivorous and feed on ants and termites though they can also consume eggs and fruits.
  • Giant anteaters are solitary animals, except the mothers and young ones. Giant anteaters have a polygynous mating system, where one male can mate with more than one female.
  • These species cab breed throughout the year; the female delivers a single pup after the gestation of six months.
  • Although the population of a giant anteater is unknown yet it is decreasing due to their habitat dissolution.
  • Giant anteaters are hunted for their meat, illegally traded to keep as pets. On the IUCN red list, giant anteaters are listed as vulnerable.
Source: Giphy

Aardvarks vs Anteaters: Scientific Comparison

Scientific name-Aardvark scientific name:
The scientific name of the aardvark is Orycteropus afer.
Anteater scientific name:
The scientific name of an anteater is Vermilingua.
Species-There are seventeen subspecies of Aardvark-

Orycteropus afer adametzi.
Orycteropus afer aethiopicus
Orycteropus afer afer
Orycteropus afer angolensis
Orycteropus afer erikssoini
Orycteropus afer faradjius
Orycteropus afer haussanus
Orycteropus afer kordofanicus
Orycteropus afer lademanni
Orycteropus afer leptodon
Orycteropus afer matschiei
Orycteropus afer observandus
Orycteropus afer ruvanensis
Orycteropus afer senegalensis
Orycteropus afer somalicus
Orycteropus afer wardi
Orycteropus afer wertheri
There are four extant subspecies of anteater-
Giant anteater
Silky anteater
Northern tamandua
Southern tamandua
Size-Aardvark can reach up to the length of 4 feet to 7 feet.Giant anteater measures 6 to 8 feet, including their tail, the silky anteater is 14 inches tall, and northern and southern tamandua measures the same dimension about 3 feet and 11 inches.
Weight-The average weight of an aardvark is between 130 to 180 pounds.An adult giant anteater weighs 70 to 110 pounds whereas female weighs 60 to 100 pounds. Silky anteater weighs 0.39 to 0.88 pounds, southern and northern tamandua weighs 3.3 to 18.5 pounds, 7.1 to 11.9 pounds, respectively.
Habitat-Where do aardvarks live?
The suitable habitat of aardvarks is savanna, woodlands, and grasslands. They can be found in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Where do anteaters live?
Anteaters are habitat to the dry tropical forests, rain forests, savannas, and grasslands. Giant anteaters can be found in Central America, silky anteaters and northern tamandua range to southeastern Mexico, and southern tamandua inhabits to Uruguay.
Diet-Aardvark diet-
Aardvarks mainly feeds on ants and termites; the only fruit consumed by them is aardvark cucumber, which gives them sufficient moisture. These species can absorb up to 50,000 termites in one night.
Anteater diet-
Like aardvarks, these species also feeds on ants and termites. These species are capable of eating 30,000 to 35,000 ants per day.
AttackAardvark attack-
Aardvarks are quite aggressive animals, but when threatened, they can use their strong and sharp claws to injure their attackers. Lion, leopards, hyenas, and giant snakes are the main predators of aardvarks.
Anteater attack-
Though aardvarks are shy and avoid humans when humans threaten them, they can impose severe injury to humans. The main predators of aardvarks are lion, cheetah, python, wild dogs, and humans.
Lifespan-Aardvarks can live up to 23 years in captivity.Giant anteaters can live for 16 years in captivity.

Anteater vs Aardvark: Fight Comparison (Who Will Win)

Aardvarks and anteaters, both the species are rare and important for our ecosystem. If a battle happens between these two species, it is difficult to guess the winner. Both of them are equally capable of defeating one another, as aardvarks and anteaters both possess some unique features. Both of them are powerful and intelligent to protect themselves. The body of aardvarks is bulkier and stronger then anteaters; however, anteaters have much more powerful and sharp claws. So it is Anteater who will win.

Source: Giphy

Difference Between Aardvark and Anteater:

Aardvarks are hoofed animals who have forelimbs on their claws. In contrast, anteaters have large clawed paws and have more hairs than aardvarks. The major difference between aardvark and anteater resides inside their mouths. However, both do not possess incisors or canines, but aardvarks have teeth, and anteaters don’t. Anteaters get their food by opening ant/termite nests with their sharp front claws. Aardvark draws its prey with its long, flexible, and rapidly moving tongue covered with thick sticky saliva.

Also read about difference between bees wasps and hornets.