The aardvark is a burrowing mammal that is native to the continent of Africa. It is considered to be a member of the afrotheres, along with elephants and manatees.
Despite being a medium-sized animal, aardvarks live in difficult conditions which makes them prone to being hunted by a wide range of different predators. It is also a nocturnal animal, which also leaves it prone to certain predators. While it does have a range of defence mechanisms, like its strong sense of smell and its ability to dig very quickly, sometimes these just aren’t enough.
Let’s take a look at five of the most threatening predators for aardvarks.
List of Predators of Aardvark
One of the most dangerous threats to the life of an aardvark is the lion. Aardvarks are solitary animals that are also nocturnal and these two things can lead to them becoming easy prey for an animal like a lion.
This predator of aardvark will chase down an Aardvark and once it has caught it, will tear it and eat it. The aardvark, despite appearing to be quite a shy and vulnerable animal, will attempt to defend itself using its sharp claws but is unlikely to be able to fight off a full-grown lion. It may stand a chance of escaping if a small lion cub attempts to eat it.
Cheetahs are big meat eaters and they can be especially dangerous predators of aardvarks. While cheetahs do prefer to eat animals like wildebeests, guineafowl, grey duikers, impalas, kudus or gazelles, they have also been known to chow down on aardvarks if the timing is right.
Cheetahs tend to stalk their animals in the day so that they can avoid other predators. They use their talented eyes to find their prey and will often stalk it for a while being engaging it in a chase. Unlike some of the other predators on this list, they do not use their noses for hunting, which can also be an advantage to an aardvark.
If a cheetah decides to hunt down an aardvark then it is likely to stalk it briefly before engaging it in a speedy pursuit. Cheetahs are famously incredibly fast and in a straight out pursuit, an aardvark has little chance of ever escaping.
Cheetahs can only maintain their top speed for a brief period though and this is the only chance that really presents an aardvark with a chance of escape. Alternatively, aardvarks can dig quickly, and this could present it with another way of defending itself against a cheetah.
Aardvarks also have very tough skin, this makes it difficult for animals to chew on and makes them a less desirable option in the wild.
Pythons, like a lot of snakes, are very opportunistic predators. They will capture and kill a wide variety of animals and the aardvark is one that is especially prone to fall victim to a python.
This predator of aardvark will use a type of ambush technique when it comes to capturing their prey. They will stalk out the aardvark and then when it is unaware, they will pounce on it. They then proceed to wrap their coil around the body of the animals and they sink their teeth in to kill it.
Pythons are notoriously ambitious when it comes to the size of their prey so they will attempt to take down an aardvark, regardless of the size. Once they have killed the animal, they will slowly digest its entire corpse. Pythons tend to consume large animals, and as such, they only need to eat a few times a year in some cases.
In terms of defences, it can be difficult for an aardvark to defend itself against a python. Its thick skin may provide it with some protection against the bite and aardvarks also have very strong legs that could be useful when it comes to fighting off the python.
Like lions and cheetahs, leopards aren’t particularly fussy when it comes to what food they eat. They have a diverse diet that consists of animals like rodents, fish, birds and even cheetahs.
The one disadvantage for an aardvark is that, like them, leopards are also very nocturnal animals which means they are prime prey for them. Leopards will often hunt at night on their own and the two animals will often encounter one another.
Leopards tend to stalk their prey, crouching down and hunting it out before jumping out at it and breaking its neck with one fast bite around the neck. Leopards have very strong teeth and it is difficult, even for an aardvark with their thick skin, to protect against it.
Once they have captured their prey, leopards tend to drag it away and they will often carry it up a tree with them. They do this to keep it out of the way of other potential predators like lions and hyenas. They will also share their food with their children.
5. African Wild Dog
The African wild dog is one of the most dangerous predators to aardvark in North Africa. The animals are opportunistic predators that enjoy feasting on much bigger animals like antelopes and warthogs, they will, however, happily take down an aardvark as well.
African wild dogs are incredibly social animals and they spend a lot of their time in packs. They hunt in packs and as such, it can be very difficult for potential prey to escape from them. Once they have identified their prey, they will circle it and attack it as a group, rendering it defenceless.
Aardvarks are capable of digging underground very quickly, which could present them with a quick escape but it seems that they would be unlikely to do to that if they were already surrounded.
The aardvark lives in one of the most dangerous environments in the animal kingdom, and as such, it is particularly prone to be hunted down, killed, and eaten by other, much bigger and strong animals.
I hope that this article on aardvark predators was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Animal Facts Page!