Aardvarks prove that beauty is only skin deep By Bob Karolevitz I mentioned a week or so ago that I had a file on anteaters because I might want to write a column about aardvarks someday.
Well, this is it!
Aardvarks are sort of like llamas, except that they've got two a's instead of l's.
Actually they're not alike at all. If you saw the two of them together, you'd know that.
An aardvark is the world's ugliest animal. It makes a duck-billed platypus look good. When two aardvarks showed up at Noah's ark, I'm sure he did a double-take because they don't usually come out in the daytime. He must have welcomed them aboard, though, because today there are still plenty of them in Africa.
The fact that two of them get married and have little aardvarks is by far the best proof that beauty is only skin deep.
They were named by the Dutch who apparently thought up a word for "earth pig." The Hollanders also named the aardwolf, a hyena-like animal — but that's another story.
I've got to admit that I have never seen an aardvark, but I'm sure I would recognize one if I did. They have a piglike body, a long snout and donkey-type ears.
If it weren't for aardvarks, termites might rule the world. Earth pigs have short, thick legs with formidable blunt claws. They use them to dig into and tear up termite nests which is where their breakfast, lunch and supper is.
When the white ants start scurrying about, the aardvark shoots out its sticky, foot-long tongue and laps up a meal which probably tickles going down.
Incidentally, there are other ant-eaters in the world, like the scaly-backed pangolin; the echidna, which lays eggs and is covered with spines like a porcupine; and the bushy-tailed South American antbear. None of them would win a beauty contest either.
In Africa people eat aardvarks. I suppose they say the meat tastes a little like chicken, but I'm not sure. I don't think I'd like an aardvark burger, and I think I'd have trouble saying, "Pass the aardvark, please."
Aardvarks have teeth, but I don't know why, unless they sometimes chew their termites. They tell me that natives prize the teeth as amulets to ward off evil, but I'm a rabbit's foot guy myself.
As many of you know, mein frau Phyllis is a dedicated animal lover. However, I'm oh so glad that she has never brought an aardvark home. I've got enough trouble just keeping up with cat food and kitty litter, without adding termites to my shopping list.
I've been going to write a children's book about Aaron Aardvark, but so far I haven't gotten around to it. I think it would make a good story. Don't you?