Aardvarks are notoriously elusive, nocturnal mammals. They generally hide in their underground burrows during the day and emerge at night to feed exclusively on ants and termites. Aardvarks are widespread throughout most habitats of Africa south of the Sahara, except deserts. But their actual numbers are not known because they’re so elusive. Aardvarks top the bucket list of many wildlife enthusiasts, but few have been fortunate enough to see them – until recently. Daytime sightings of aardvarks are becoming more common in the drier parts of southern Africa. But seeing them in the daytime does not bode well because it indicates they might not be finding enough food. To understand how aardvarks cope with hot and dry conditions, we studied them in the Kalahari, one of the hottest and driest savannah regions in southern Africa in which aardvarks occur. With deserts and drylands expanding across much of Africa, climate change might threaten the aardvark itself as well as the many animals reliant on aardvark burrows as a cool shelter from rising temperatures.
SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION