Can You Own A Pet Aardvark? Is It Legal?

Do Aardvarks make as good pets for home? Well, Aardvarks are wild animals who are better kept off in their natural habitat. Shifting them amongst humans and keeping them as pets is an idea as bad as settling in a desert.

Here is more about Why Aardvarks do not make a good pet? Continue reading and get the most out of it.

Getting a Pet Aardvark: What You Need to Know

Aardvark, a unique animal with an odd appearance, is found in areas of Africa, especially the Sahara. For its pig-like face and burrowing habits, Africans often refer to it as ‘Earth Pig’ and ‘Antbear’. This medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal is the only living species of the order Tubulidentata.

Aardvarks roam around over most of the southern two-thirds of the African continent except in the rocky regions. This insectivorous digs out ant hills with its sharp claws and powerful legs in order to search for food.

Aardvarks measure up to 2.2 meters long and weighs somewhere around 145 pounds. They have a scant and yellowish-grey coat, whitish face and tail tip, very reduced eyes, and elongated snout.

Their number, though, is decreasing rapidly, but Aardvarks are listed as “least concern” by the IUCN.

Can You Own A Pet Aardvark?

History of Aardvark: Where Does Aardvark Originate?

Aardvark is found all throughout Africa, with its name coming from Afrikaans/Dutch, meaning earth pig.

Aardvarks, though have coexisted with humans for several thousands of years but received recognization quite late.

When in the middle of the 17th century, Dutch colonists landed on the southern tip of Africa, they noticed these unusual animals digging into the soil.

Before that, the indigenous tribes of this region must have their own different name for these creatures, but the Dutch then began referring to it as Aardvark.

Aardvark Species Taxonomy Overview

NameAardvark
Other NamesAnt Eater, African Ant Bear,
Cape Anteater, and Earth pig
Scientific NamesOrycteropus afer
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderTubulidentata
FamilyOrycteropodidae
SpeciesO. afer
SizeLength: 100 – 130 cm (Adult, Without Tail)Mass: 40 – 65 kg (Adult)
Life SpanUp to 24 years

Does Aardvark Make Good Pets?

No, Aardvarks would not make good pets. Due to their burrowing habits, they are not sustainable to survive in the backyard or garden of any home. Besides that, since they are nocturnal, they would keep you up for the entire night.

And when during the daytime you would like your pet to show some activity, they will spend that duration resting inside their den.

Individuals often have the cred of owning something that no one else has, though Aardvarks are not the answer to their greed.

They will come with several responsibilities and financial obligations. Also, Aardvarks aren’t beginner’s pets.

Setting up a habitat and life in captivity for them is more like a full-time job rather than just having a pet dog or cat around.

Is It Legal To Keep Aardvark As A Pet?

While animals, including the exotic ones such as Aardvark, are protected and thus domesticating them is illegal.

Also, since they are native only to Africa in the areas south of the Sahara, it isn’t lawful to remove them from their natural habitat and move across the world.

Even in Africa and especially Sahara, keeping Aardvark as a pet is termed illegal.

Are Aardvarks legal in the U.S.?

Rules for possessing exotic animals are different all across the United States.

For example, States including Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, and Wisconsin do not have any specific restrictions on keeping exotic animals as pets.

Since the ownership of wild animals isn’t regulated, a lot of individuals keep Aardvark as pets.

Whereas in some other U.S. States, for possessing Aardvark, one needs to first get a permit/ license for the same.

It is essential to show knowledge and experience with these animals, along with disclosing the purpose of having them.

Besides checking laws in your state, it is essential to look for the local ordinance in your area as well.

There are several cities that impose restrictions on keeping exotic pets despite the state has allowed for the same.

Can you have Aardvarks as pets?

If you are looking forward to bringing Aardvark home as a pet, it is better to drop the idea. Aardvarks aren’t domesticated, and therefore they make very bad pets. These animals are habitual of living their life in the wild, away from humans.

And thus, when brought into the human world, they do not make it easy for the individual. Due to their nocturnal behavior, having your pet Aardvark behave like any other pet is nearly impossible. It will become tricky for you to even have eye to eye with them since there will be zero interaction.

In addition, it is very difficult and nearly impossible to train and get friendly with Aardvarks. And beyond that, Veterinary Care for these animals is really hard to find. That is why bringing them home isn’t the best choice you will make.

Pet Aardvark- You have to meet their needs

Aardvark Housing Needs

Aardvarks in captivity need a lot of space. These creatures can travel distances of over 16 miles each night and have a habit of roaming through their territory.

Your small garden or backyard isn’t enough to house them. Instead, at least 2 to 3 acres of bushland, grassland, woodlands, and savannas would replicate Aardvark’s natural habitat slightly better.

Besides that, avoid extremely rocky and moist habitats since they can impede digging, making it impossible to burrow for Aardvarks. Also, be ready to see everything from your plants and vegetation get damaged.

Aardvarks’ Temperature and Humidity Needs

The best temperature to keep Aardvarks is between 20° C to 27° C, and the relative humidity is above 70%.

Humidity any lower than this can result in drying and cracking of their skin.

Aardvark Dietary Needs

Aardvarks are insectivorous and feed majorly on ants, termites, and a few other insects. And in the name of vegetation, they eat nothing more than cucumbers.

However, since it is nearly impossible to provide them will thousands of ants every single day, their diet in captivity can differ.

Zoos that have Aardvark often suggest feeding a mix of cat food and supplements to these creatures. Or another great option is a high-protein insectivore powder mixed with water, insects, honey, and fruit.

For a boost of protein, adding raw but soft meat is advisable. However, since Aardvarks do not have teeth, giving them anything that requires chewing is not recommended.

Aardvark Cleaning

There is no necessity to bathe and groom a pet Aardvark. However, since their waste, especially urine, is extremely foul-smelling, cleaning their habitat is always a job.

Anteaters are difficult to potty train, and thus they will poop and pee anywhere inside their enclosure.

And the smell of the same can travel all across your house quite strongly. That is why immediate cleaning and using some nice smelling products is necessary.

Common Health Problems with Aardvark

When the surroundings are too drafty or cold, Aardvarks are prone to catching respiratory diseases. Or, due to inappropriate or insufficient diets, a lot of them also suffer from organ failure.

Besides that, lack of humidity leads to skin issues amongst Aardvarks, and problems like this are quite common.

However, regardless of the above, it is really difficult to find a Vet who can or is willing to treat Aardvarks.

Since they aren’t any common domestic animals, there are very fewer medical professionals who know how to treat Aardvarks.

That is why a lot of them lose their life in captivity, simply due to the unavailability of medical services.

How Much Does an Aardvark Cost?

Buying an Aardvark will cost you anywhere between $3,500 and $8,000. Besides that, the cost of obtaining a permit/ license, building their enclosure, spending on their diet, and providing long-term care will double up the expense within no time.

Where to buy an Aardvark? Where to find an Aardvark Breeder?

If you are looking forward to buying an Aardvark, the chances are low that you will find one.

Neither the local pet shops provide exotic animals like Aardvarks.

Nor there are any known breeders in the United States that might deal in buying and selling Aardvark.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Aardvarks are special?

Aardvarks are the only living representative of the Tubulidentata order, and this is what makes them special.

Do humans hunt Aardvarks?

Yes, in part of Africa, humans hunt Aardvarks for their meat or for using their body parts as ornaments.

Can Aardvarks run?

Yes, Aardvarks can run at least up to 26 miles an hour.

Are aardvarks aggressive?

Aardvarks normally aren’t those animals who mingle much with other animals and humans. Even when they feel threatened, they will escape very quickly underground. However, at times, when threatened by any human or large animal, Aardvarks are known to show extreme aggression. They may even use their strong, sharp claws to attack.

Wrapping up…

Can you own a pet, Aardvark? Even if it is legal to own an Aardvark, it is better to leave these poor animals to their habitat in the wild. They, for some purposes, are wild and aren’t meant for domesticating. 

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