Phonique the South African Aardvark/ A Children’s Story

Aardvark Adult and Newborn

South of the Sahara in Africa lives a very unusual mammal. It is called the Aardvark or sometimes called the “earth pig”. It gets this name because it looks so much like a pig. Its long snout resembles those of the pigs in other areas of the world.

However this mammal has some very different features as well. It has ears much like that of a rabbit and a long tail that looks like a kangaroo’s tail. They are not related to either of these animals. They only have some features that look like each others.

“Oh it is so hot outside. I’m staying in my cool underground burrow. This hot sun is gonna be the death of me. Had it not been for my cool burrow I dug long ago I’d be dead by now. Thank goodness I have these powerful claws on my feet to dig with. I would have no other way of eating the termites and ants I love so much.” Phonique sighed as she stretched out inside her huge burrow.

“When the sun goes down I’ll put my claws to work and dig out some termite mounds. I’ll sleep during the day and hunt for food when it is cool outside. It seems like I have to travel further and further to find food. Last night I must have walked five miles looking for termite mounds.” She recounted as she looked at her sore feet.

“If I am going to live to be thirty years old I’ve got to do better and have better hunting skills. It is a good thing I can close my nostrils to keep the dust and insects out. Lord I’d hate to have insects climbing up my nose.” She grinned.

“Did you know that some of the African people call us “antbears”? Her sister Tota asked.

“I really don’t care what they call me. I just know I have a very long and sticky tongue that can worm its way into the termites mound and suck out tons of insects. I also know my thick skin protects me from their bites. I really do need to find some soothing herb or something for my cracked feet.” Phonique answered as she caressed her feet with her paws.

“You really need to make this burrow larger so you will have room for your baby. You also need to have several exits just in case a predator comes a calling.” He sister advised.

“I know I do and I will begin work on it as soon as I can. I am going to have to take extra precautions now to sniff out the predators. The lions, the leopards, the bloody hyenas and the huge pythons are always hiding just waiting for a chance to have me for a meal. If that is not bad enough I have to watch out for African hunters who want to kill me for meat for their families. It is just not safe outside anymore.” She complained.

“I would love to have some Aardvark cucumbers. You know how you get these odd desires when you are pregnant?” She asked Tota.
“Yes I know that very well. I haven’t had a cucumber in a good while now but I did get almost 50,000 termites in a mound the other day. I ate until I could hardly walk. It’s a good thing the lions were not watching. If they had attacked, I’d been so slow moving they would have surely killed me.” Tota snapped as she rolled her eyes from side to side.

“We have to dig fast. I can dig about two feet in 15 seconds and sometimes faster. It just depends on how hungry I happen to be at the time. Thank goodness for my twelve inch long tongue.” Phonique boasted.

“Well I had better be going. I have to get my burrow all ready for my newborn too. Maybe next year I will move on further where food is more abundant. For now though I’ll just wait until my baby moves out and digs his own burrow. You rest and eat plenty. You want to have a healthy baby!” Tota replied as she crawled towards an exit. “You only have one a year so try and have a healthy one.”

Phonique was unaware that a huge python had hidden behind some weeds and as soon as Tota began to move in the direction of her burrow, the python quickly lunged out and wrapped itself around her body. It was only a matter of seconds and Tota was food for the python.

As Phonique was resting she began to hear yelping outside her burrow.

“It’s those hateful hyenas. I do wish they would look someplace else for their food. I’ll just close off my burrow door by shoving dirt up against it. Maybe they will get the idea.” She groaned as she made her way to the entrance of her burrow.

The hyenas were relentless and kept screaming. Pretty soon there were at least six or seven in the pact and they were all hungry. They surrounded the burrow and waited for darkness to fall. They were determined to get food.

As silence fell across the sands and darkness made its entrance Phonique quietly made her way to an exit she had dug months before. It was a good distance from the entrance to her burrow. Slowly she crept out, her eyes searching for the dogs. Her nose traced their scent and she safely escaped into the darkness.

She had escaped this time but what about tomorrow. Would she be able to keep them away again or be torn into pieces and eaten?

Life is so uncertain even to the Aardvark and its babies.

Question: What is the Aardvark’s favorite food?

Written by Sybil Shearin
All Rights Reserved
Copyrighted 8-2011

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