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Difference Between Aardvarks and Anteaters

anteater-animal-pdAardvarks vs. Anteaters

People commonly confuse aardvarks with anteaters, and visa versa. In fact, it is not uncommon for an aardvark to be colloquially referred to as an ‘anteater’. Despite this local nickname, and their somewhat similar appearance, aardvarks and anteaters are not related, and live on separate continents.

A resident of Africa, the aardvark is the only known living species of the Tubulidentata mammalian order. It is also sometimes referred to as ‘earth pig’ or ‘ground pig’ due to the fact that European settlers thought the aardvark resembled the domesticated pig; even though aardvarks are not in any way related to any type of pig.

The aardvark has disproportionately long ears and a tail that starts out thick at the base and narrows towards the end. With its short neck and arched back, along with the long tube-like ears, the aardvark resembles a hairless rabbit with an uncommonly long nose. A nocturnal animal, an aardvark burrows underground to sleep during the daytime, and is known for digging a new burrow as often as each night. Female aardvarks tend to become hooked to one geographical area, while male aardvarks are more likely to travel to parts unknown.

In contrast, the anteater belongs to the Pilosa order, and is related to the sloth. Four different species of anteater can be found in South and Central America. They normally keep to moist environments, such as swamps or river banks, and occasionally humid forests. The four species range in size from about two to eight feet in length. Like the aardvark, they are solitary animals, with the exception of the mother and child grouping. Unlike the aardvark, anteaters live above ground. When they want to sleep they just curl up in a quiet spot and use their bushy tails to cover themselves.

Additionally, aardvarks have only a smattering of short coarse hair, while anteaters have long bushy fur, and are commonly mistaken for bears. However, you could still have them both over for lunch without things getting awkward, because ants and termites are the preferred cuisine for both of these members of the animal kingdom. In summary, anteaters differ from aardvarks in the following ways:

1. Anteaters live in South and Central America, while aardvarks live in Africa.

2. Aardvarks are the sole species of the order of Tubulidentata, while there are several anteater species which all belong to the order Pilosa.

3. Anteaters live above the ground, while aardvarks prefer to burrow underground.

4. Aardvarks have short coarse hair, while anteaters have long bushy fur.


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