Difference Between Aardvarks and Anteaters (With Table)

The basic difference between an Aardvark and an Anteater is that they both reside on different continents. Aardvark is a native of Africa while Anteaters are found in central and south America. They both are quite similar in appearance and yet have distinct features.

Aardvarks vs Anteaters

The main difference between Aardvarks and Anteaters is that aardvarks reside under the ground level. On the other hand, Anteaters live above ground level. This is why the former is also known as a ground pig. However, it has no relationship with the pig family.

Aardvarks is the only living species in the mammalian order of Tubulidentata. Which makes them a unique set of mammalians. The term earth pig or ground pig is frequently used to describe its appearance as the early European settlers sought the resemblance. 

Anteaters belong to the order of Pilosa and are related to the sloth kingdom. They are further divided into four species, each of which can be found in the Northern American Region. The different varieties of anteaters have different names in the English language. Namely the Giant Anteater, Silky Anteater, and Northern Anteater.

Comparison Table Between Aardvarks and Anteaters

Parameters of ComparisonAardvarksAnteaters
OrderAardvarks belong to the Tubulidentata orderAnteaters belong to Pilosa
Continent Aardvarks are found in AfricaAnteaters are found in North America
Hair typeThey have short coarse hairThey have bushy and long hair
Living preferenceBurrows or under the groundAbove the ground
Other namesGround pig or earth pigGiant Anteater, Silky Anteater

What is Aardvark?

Aardvark is an African insectivorous mammal that lives inside self-developed burrows. It has distinctive long ears and a tail shaped thickly at the start and thinly at the end. Which gives it a unique look and sharp appearance.

The structure of an Aardvark is quite similar to a rabbit. With a similar type of ear shape and the stretched nose, the resemblance is quite uncanny. It is a nocturnal animal which means that it is most active during the nighttime.

Because of its nocturnal nature, it sleeps during the daytime and travels at night. This allows him to dig a new burrow each night and change his geography repeatedly. However, female Aardbvarks tend to stay mostly at the same place or burrow.

Aardvarks also have curved or domed backs with small size necks. This supports their ground movement and allows them to smell it efficiently. Their small size neck also helps them to adjust in small burrows.

Aardvarks tend to escape when in danger, but they can also be highly aggressive. They have extremely sharp claws which assist them in attacking bigger animals. Their strong legs are also a crucial part of their defense system. By using these legs they can push away animals who are larger than them and minimize the threat.

They also have really bad eyesight but a great sense of smell. This aids their food hunt during the night and in the dark.

What is Anteater?

Anteaters are different types of mammalian species located in northern and central parts of America. They are insect-eating animals with close relation to the sloth family. They also bear a close resemblance to a bear because of their hairy bodies.

They are normally found in areas situated near a riverbank. This is due to their preference for moist and humid conditions. Anteaters can also be found in swamps.

There are nearly four types of Anteaters that exist. Their size ratio is two to eight inches, depending on the species. They usually prefer to live alone and not in groups. However, early groups of mother and child can be found in this mammal.

They are usually not aggressive to humans in any form or pattern. But they can defend themselves against predators using their sharp claws and strong hind legs. Their claws also help them to dig through anthills and look for food. Furthermore, their great sense of smelling benefits the hunting process and guides them towards anthills or termite colonies.

According to various exotic animal educators, they are quite intelligent species. Their availability to adapt themselves to a personal or nonpersonal environment increases the chances of survival. They also have a hairy tale to surround themself.

Anteaters are also described as expressive and affectionate animals. They are considered to be human-friendly.

Main Differences Between Aardvark and Anteaters

  1. Aardvarks resemble rabbits whereas Anteaters resemble a bear.
  2. Aardvarks are nocturnal whereas Anteaters can be diurnal
  3. Aardvarks are a member of Tubulidentata while Anteaters come from Pilosa.
  4. Aardvarks have small hair particles whereas Anteaters have a larger bushy form of hair.
  5. Aardvarks are the only species in their order whereas Anteaters are divided into four subspecies.

Conclusion

Aardvarks and Anteaters are two different types of insect-eating animals. They both have a smelling and digging capability to find their food, which is mostly ants and termites. One prefers to move only during the night while the other one can travel in the day as well.

Aardvarks are usually more aggressive in comparison to Anteaters. This is because of their predator population. Since Aardvark is found in the African wild, they have high numbers of predating animals to deal with.

Anteaters are human-friendly and many exotic pet owners have described them to be intelligent species. However, in the case of danger, they are prepared to defend themselves.

Aardvarks do not have any relations with the pig family but resemble them in features. The early settlers of Europe used this factor to name them earth pigs. Similarly, Anteaters are called Ant bears in some areas because of their hairy look.

Aardvarks and Anteaters are both dependent on the same diet. They use their distinct noses to suck up ants or termites from the ground or sticky surfaces. The ants get soaked inside their salivary glands.

Aardvarks are not on the verge of extinction but are the only member of their group. Anteaters have broadly 118 types and four major subspecies.

References

https://peerj.com/articles/9690/
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2907.1976.tb00204.x