Got My Valentine Right Here


A pair of aardvarks (Orycteropus afar) dozing together under an observational red light at the Philadelphia Zoo.  Aardvarks are sexually monomorphic, making them particularly difficult to sex (Parys 2012); however, the pair seen here are Sunshine (female) and AJ (male)*.  Image credit: Philadelphia Zoo / Curious Sengi.

To be honest, there is not much known about the love-life of aardvarks.

These animals are solitary for most of the year, until the rainy season floods out their haunts in the grasslands and forces them to retreat to higher ground.  This concentration of the population into a smaller area might initiate some aardvark love, as observers have noted male-female pairs “gambolling” and entering burrows together during this time.  However it may work, baby aardvarks appear about seven months later.

Aardvarks dig out sleeping holes with their powerful claws.  These chambers are usually just a little larger than the size of the body and the animals sleep curled up, snout covered by tail and hindfeet (Kingdon 1971).  Squeezing in two aardvarks into a single sleeping hole is a bit tight, but their predilection for snoozing snoot to foot is pretty darn cute!


Image credit: Sebastien Millon via DeviantArt.

* A sad note:  AJ the aardvark recently died at the Philadelphia Zoo in January 2017.  Read about it here.


Kingdon, Jonathan.  1971.  East African Mammals:  An Atlas of Evolution in Africa, Volume I.  London:  Academic Press.

Parys, Astrid et al.  2012.  “Newcomers enrich the European zoo aardvark population.”  Afrotherian Conservation 9:  2 – 5.


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