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What Kind Of Animal Is Arthur

What Kind Of Animal Is Arthur? Details About The Cartoon Character

Many of us would have some experience watching Arthur, a children’s television show. Its main character is Arthur, an animal of some sort that behaves and talks like a human. What kind of animal is Arthur?

Arthur is an aardvark, a wild animal that roams a large part of Sub-Saharan Africa. Aardvarks look like a combination of pigs, rabbits, and tapirs. It feeds primarily on termites and ants. Aardvarks are nocturnal and are not considered endangered despite their decreasing numbers.

This article discusses the animal that Arthur is. Then we explore if an Aardvark makes a great pet at home. We will also try to see if Aardvarks are an endangered species and if you can legally own one. 

What Kind Of Animal Is Arthur?

This is an Aardvark, a nocturnal wild animal that roams a large part of Sub-Saharan Africa. Aardvarks may look odd, as they have the body size of a pig but the ears of a rabbit and snouts like a tapir. It also has a tail. Aardvarks feed primarily on termites and ants and are currently not classified as threatened. 

Aardvarks are unique creatures, sharing the physical looks of many animals yet not genetically related to them; they may have a pig’s body size and legs, but it has a rabbit’s ear, the snout of a tapir, and a long tail. It also has thin, long tongues similar to an anteater.

The name Aardvark comes from Afrikaans, a southern African language, meaning ‘earth pig.’ Nocturnal in nature, Aardvarks come out at night to feed, using their long noses and an acute sense of smell to track down ant and termite mounts. 

Once found, they use their long, strong claws to tear open termite mounds and lap up the ants and termites using their long, thin, sticky tongue like an anteater’s. The aardvark mostly eats these insects, but sometimes it will also eat beetle larvae.

Aardvarks like to dig underground burrows where they sleep and care for their young. The dens can be as long as 33ft (10m). Aardvarks can grow up to 39 – 52 inches (100-130cm) without a tail and weigh up to 88 – 143 pounds (40 – 65kg). It may live up to 23 years old in captivity.

How Different Does Arthur Look From An Aardvark?

The actual Aardvark has a long snout and a long, rabbit-like ear. Still, Arthur is drawn up to have a flat nose and a small, rounded ear similar to a rhinoceros. His nostrils are much smaller compared to an actual Aardvark as well. However, Arthur was initially designed to have a snout identical to an actual Aardvark.

Arthur may be an Aardvark, but he may not look similar to one, as some of his facial features were changed, perhaps to make it more human-like. 

If you compare the two closely, an actual Aardvark may have a more extended ear, similar to a rabbit. But Arthur’s has been shortened to look close to a Rhinoceros’ ear instead.

The most significant difference is, however, on the nose. An actual Aardvark has a snout-like nose with pig-like nostrils. The nose may look close to a Tapir’s or an anteater’s. 

Arthur, instead, was given a flat nose, almost similar to a human’s. The nostril is also tiny, identical to a human’s rather than the actual Aardvark. 

However, the original Arthur was created to have a snout-like nose and a more prominent ear. Many reasons were given for the change, but an interview with Marc Brown, the creator of Arthur, seems to show that the changes weren’t intentional. 

In fact, the gradual loss of snouts and ears and general rounding of Arthur’s face made him more human-like, as its creator feels like he is ‘knowing Arthur more and more as a person.’

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Are Aardvarks A Threatened Animal?

Aardvarks are not endangered species whose numbers in the wild are going down. In 2014, the animal was listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It means the animal is not known to be in any threat of extinction. 

Aardvarks are not in danger as a species right now. The IUCN has a red list that tells how vital each animal species is. These groups are listed from least likely to become extinct to those that are already gone:

  • Least Concerned 
  • Nearly Threatened 
  • Vulnerable 
  • Endangered 
  • Critically Endangered 
  • Extinct in the Wild 
  • Extinct

The IUCN labeled Aardvarks under the group ‘Least Concerned.’ However, the grading was given back in 2014, and its status may have changed since then. Aardvarks have shown stable numbers in protected areas like South Africa’s Kruger National Park.

However, aardvarks’ numbers are known to be going down, although not at an alarming rate. Deforestation seems to be a big reason their numbers are dropping, and people in the area are hunting them. Some are also caught and often illegally sold abroad.

Can You Keep Aardvarks As Pets?

Aardvarks, in general, are protected animals where they are from, which means taking them out may be illegal. On top of that, many states such as Alameda and Nevada prohibit ownership of exotic animals as pets. Even if your state allows exotic pets, you may also need to check with your county offices.

Back at home, Aardvarks are most of the time protected animals. This means the national law would prohibit the catching, selling, or exporting of these animals outside. 

As a result, if you can see any aardvarks for sale outside of their original countries, these animals are probably illegally brought into your location. 

If you go ahead and purchase these aardvarks, you also run the risk of breaking the law, as quite a number of states in the US prohibit ownership of exotic pets. You may need to check in detail, as different states may have different levels of prohibition. 

Now, even if it is safe to own an aardvark in your state, you may also want to check with your county office, as some counties are known to have stricter laws than the state. 

Another thing to do before you go ahead and get yourself an aardvark, you may also want to do further research about owning aardvarks as pets. Exotic animals may have different, specialized needs, and you may not be able to care for them well. 

Do Aardvarks Make Great Pets?

Aardvarks, in general, do not make a great pet. This is because they are wild animals, nocturnal, and require special diets that may not be easily sourced. Aardvarks also need a lot of space to roam and burrow and may be hard to treat should they have any medical condition.

Aardvarks Are Wild Animals

First of all, aardvarks are wild animals. This means you may not be able to domesticate them as well as dogs or cats. They also may not respond well to things such as toilet training. 

Aardvarks are also solitary animals, meaning socialization may be an issue with the animal. You may not be able to form a bond with your Aardvark similar to your dogs. 

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Aardvarks Are Nocturnal

Aardvarks are nocturnal animals, meaning they are dormant during the day and active at night. This may sound like good news since a dormant pet might make a good pet. 

But when they are active at night, they may be making noises that will keep you up all night, not to mention their habit of burrowing may cause them to wreak havoc on your house and maybe even your neighbors.

Aardvarks Need Special Diet

Aardvarks have a very special diet – nothing but ants and termites. These are not the kind of food you can get from a pet store, nor can you think of a place where you can source thousands and thousands of them every day. This means feeding and keeping your aardvarks alive can be a task too great to maintain. 

Suppose you are confident that you can find a termite or ant mound every day to keep your aardvark well fed. The effort of searching, transporting, feeding, and returning home every day may still be taxing and may not be sustainable long term. Keep in mind that aardvarks may live up to 23 years in captivity.

Aardvarks Need Space To Roam

Aardvarks are known to roam over 2.5 – 4.3 miles (4 – 7KM) every night to feed in the wild. If you are to keep an aardvark around, you better have a huge yard to accommodate that. 

Wild animals kept in captivity may display unpredictable behavior, such as aggression. This may also happen to your aardvark if not given space to roam.

Aardvarks May Ruin Your Garden

Another habit of Aardvarks is to dig burrows to live in or to raise their offspring. If you keep an aardvark around your house, you can expect to see at least one or more burrows being made around your garden. 

If you spend a lot of money and time tending to your garden, you may not like to see holes upon holes in it. Your aardvark’s tunneling habit may also extend to your neighbors’ garden, causing more issues. 

It May Be Hard To Get Vet Care

If you own a pet, you should ensure it gets proper care. You should always have a veterinarian check and vaccinate it on a regular basis.

Aardvarks are probably exotic animals, which means very few vets would have experience with them. This may pose a potential headache for you. Your best chance may be to look for vets who work at zoos or animal parks if there are any near you. If you are capable of tracking one down, be ready to splash more money to pay for healthcare for your aardvark.

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