First Aardvark Born in Russian Zoo

YEKATERINBURG, April 3 (RIA Novosti) – The zoo in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg has welcomed a new resident, a baby aardvark, born in February, the zoo reported on its website on Wednesday.

“This is the first aardvark to be born in Russia,” the zoo said.

A couple of aardvarks were brought to Yekaterinburg from Tanzania last spring. Later, other Russian zoos added these rare animals to their collections.

Aardvarks have the body of an anteater, the ears of a rabbit, the snout of a pig and the tail of a kangaroo. Their bodies are 100 to 150 centimeters (40-60 inches) long. They stand up to 65 centimeters tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 80 kilograms (176 lbs).

The little-studied aardvark, which means “ground pig” in Afrikaans, is the only representative of the order Tubulidentata. The aardvark owes its name to its unique tooth structure. In fact, its teeth are clusters of vasodentin tubes without enamel or roots.

In total, only about 90 aardvarks live in zoos worldwide. Ten aardvarks were born in captivity over the past 50 years.


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