AARDVARK

The Aardvark is a nocturnal, medium-sized mammal native to Africa. It is the only living species of the order Tubulidentata. The Aardvark is similar to a pig in appearance. Its body is stout and sparsely covered in short, coarse hairs. The Aardvark is considered a living fossil, genetically speaking, because its chromosomes are extremely conserved. They have a long sticky tongue used for capturing termites and other insects for food.

Additional information

Mount Type

Facts

The name Aardvark comes from South Africa’s Afrikaans language and means “Earth pig.” An Aardvark’s weight is typically between 60 and 80 kilograms (130–180 lb) and length is usually between 105 and 130 centimetres.

Aardvark live for up to 23 years in captivity. Its keen hearing warns it of predators: Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, African Wild Dog, Hyena and Python. Aardvark can dig fast or run in zigzag fashion to elude enemies, but if all else fails, they will strike with their claws, tail and shoulders, sometimes flipping onto their backs lying motionless except to lash out with all four feet. They are capable of causing substantial damage to unprotected areas of an attacker. They will also dig to escape as they can. Sometimes, when pressed, Aardvark can dig extremely quickly.

The Aardvark is nocturnal and is a solitary creature that feeds almost exclusively on Ant and Termite. Due to their stringent diet requirements, they require a large range to survive. An Aardvark emerges from its burrow in the late afternoon or shortly after sunset and forages over a considerable home range encompassing 10 to 30 kilometres (6.2 to 18.6 mi). They move from one Termite mound to another, dismantling the hills with their powerful claws. Insects are trapped by their long protractile tongue (as long as 30 centimetres), which is covered with thick, sticky saliva. While foraging for food, the Aardvark will keep its nose to the ground and its ears pointed forward, which indicates that both smell and hearing are involved in the search for food. They zig-zag as they forage and will usually not repeat a route for 5–8 days as they appear to allow time for the termite nests to recover before feeding on it again.

The Aardvark is a rather quiet animal, however, it does make soft grunting sounds as it forages, loud grunts as it makes for its tunnel entrance and a bleating sound if frightened.

The Aardvark is known to be a good swimmer and has been witnessed successfully swimming in strong currents. It can dig a yard of tunnel in about five minutes, but otherwise moves fairly slowly.

Aardvark pair only during the breeding season; after a gestation period of seven months, one cub weighing around 1.7–1.9 kilograms (3.7–4.2 lb) is born during May–July. When born, the young has soft ears and many wrinkles. When nursing, it will nurse off each teat in succession. After two weeks, the folds of skin disappear and after three, the ears can be held upright. After 5–6 weeks, body hair starts growing. It is able to leave the burrow to accompany its mother after only two weeks and eats Termites at 9 weeks  and is weaned between three months and 16 weeks. At six months of age, it is able to dig its own burrows, but it will often remain with the mother until the next mating season and is sexually mature from approximately two years of age.

Habitat

Aardvark are found in sub-Saharan Africa, where suitable habitat such as savannah, grasslands, woodlands, bushland and food such as ants and termites are available. They spend the daylight hours in dark burrows to avoid the heat of the day. They also avoid terrain rocky enough to cause problems with digging.

Taxidermy

What is Aardvark Taxidermy?

Aardvark taxidermy is the art of preserving the Aardvark’s skin and other body parts to produce lifelike sculptures for display, either at home as a hunting trophy or in museums for educational purposes. Skin is preserved and mounted on an artificial armature to display the specimen.

The contemporary English word “taxidermy” is derived from the Greek terms taxis, meaning “movement,” and derma, meaning “skin,” thereby combining these two meanings. This is why, in a broad sense, taxidermy is synonymous with “the motion of skin.”

For expert taxidermists, skills in sculpture, painting, and sketching are just as important as those in carpentry, woodworking, tanning, moulding, and casting.

The remaining parts of the body are synthetic replacements for real organs and tissues. Polyurethane foam is used for the manikin or form, which includes the anatomy of every muscle and vein; glass is used for the eyes; clay is used for the eyelids; for the nose and mouth the foam of the mannequin is sculptured.

Works of taxidermy can be found in a wide range of environments, including museums, classrooms, galleries, stores, restaurants, and private households, due to the complexity and delicate craftsmanship involved in the taxidermy process.

Thorough preparation is the key factor to ensuring a high-quality final product. All hides are tanned and oiled using the world’s very best available chemicals and processes to ensure permanence and longevity. Forms are selected to ensure the best fit and posture will be altered to suit you, the client’s preference without additional cost. Natural habitat bases are custom-made for full mount trophies without additional cost. Only the finest materials and 40 years of professional experience are used in defining your trophies in a whole new way. The final trophies are almost Life-Formed. When the restoration is required, every effort is made to repair cuts and abrasions, and to minimise bullet damage. Natural scarring is kept unless otherwise requested.

Hunting an Aardvark

Aardvark is active at night and burrows underground. The vast majority of Aardvark are taken as “trophies of opportunity” during routine plains game or dangerous game hunts when the hunters happen to come upon them. If you want to hunt an Aardvark, you need be prepared to spend many long hours driving around with spotlights in an area that has a lot of termite mounds and a lot of Aardvark activity.

You should also be prepared to spend a lot of time in the dark. Because they are so uncommon, you will need to have a lot of good fortune on your side in order to come across one of these animals.

You will need a great deal of patience and luck in order to hunt an Aardvark effectively at night using a spotlight in the aim of finding an Aardvark that is feeding.

Once you have sighted an Aardvark, be sure to get a clean shot to the chest to ensure minimal damage is incurred. After you have successfully hunted your Aardvark, be sure to have it frozen as soon as possible.

This is vital to prevent the spread of bacteria which may damage the skin and to delay the process of decomposition, ensuring that your trophy arrives at the taxidermy studio in pristine condition.

The Aardvark taxidermist’s process and method

When making an Aardvark mount, careful planning is key to getting a high-quality result. When tanning and oiling the skins, only the best chemicals and methods are used. This ensures that the skins will last for many years.

Your preferred form for the Aardvark will be chosen after taking your measurements into account, and the posture of your form will be changed at no extra cost. Full-mount Aardvark trophies come with bases made to look like the animal’s natural habitat and made just for the Aardvark mount.

The taxidermy process at Life-Form takes your prized Aardvark trophy and gives it a whole new meaning by using only the best materials and drawing on more than 40 years of experience in the field.

When repair is needed, every effort is made to fix cuts and scrapes and lessen bullet damage. Existing scars are left alone unless the client asks for them to be taken away.

Taking care of your Aardvark trophy

Using the helpful tips below, it’s important to take extra care of your prized Aardvark trophy to make sure it stays in perfect shape for years to come.

  • To keep your Aardvark mounts looking their best, it’s important to put them in the right place with the right temperature and humidity.
  • To keep your mounts from fading over time, try not to hang them next to a sunny window where they will be in direct sunlight for a long time. If you can, don’t put taxidermy near direct heat sources like furnace vents or wood stoves.
  • A taxidermy trophy should be handled and cared for like any other expensive and fine piece of art. Mounts should only be touched when they need to be.
  • If you want your mounts to look their best, you should dust them often and gently. A feather duster works well, and then you can wipe away any remaining dust with a damp cloth in the direction of the hair.
  • People often say that things like furniture polish work well to clean hair or fur, but you should avoid using them. Over time, these things can actually gather more dust and moisture.
  • You can also use compressed air or a vacuum with a soft brush for the scenery. Be careful to work gently and follow the natural direction of the skin.
  • Use a Q-tip dipped in glass cleaner to clean the eyes, and then use a clean, dry swab to polish them.
  • Even the most prestigious museums and trophy rooms have had items damaged by insects. Moths and tiny demisted or carpet beetles are the two types of insects that are responsible for this problem, so it is worth fumigating the room regularly.
  • A fine repellent mist should be sprayed all over the mount, and then the product should be carefully combed into the hair. A blow dryer can be used to restore the fluffy appearance of the fur on animals that have it.

FAQ's

How much does an Aardvark trophy cost?

The pricing of any trophy is subject to the costing stipulated per taxidermy order, quantity of trophies and preferred mounting options, along with additional requirements.

Should you wish to receive a quotation prior to the hunt, the taxidermist can generate such for you. Please contact [email protected]

How long does an Aardvark trophy take?

Taxidermy is an art form that involves a complicated step-by-step process to make sure that each trophy looks just right and is of a high enough quality that it will last your whole life.

The time it takes a taxidermist to mount an animal might range from days to weeks, and possibly several months, depending on the quantity of trophies per taxidermy order, the display preferences, and volumes of client trophies to be produced, simultaneously, per production schedule.

This depends largely on the “what, how, when” factors. A taxidermy order also only becomes available for production scheduling upon receipt of the required deposit and trophy mounting instructions.

More of our products

Life-form Taxidermy