Aardvarks vs. Anteaters – The Difference Between Them

Aardvarks and anteaters are two animals found living in a savanna habitat because the trees are smaller and…

Aardvarks and anteaters are two animals found living in a savanna habitat because the trees are smaller and have more space between them. Although they are two completely different animals, they both belong to the Chordata Phylim and they are mammals. They even eat the same foods – ants and termites.

About the Aardvark

The name Aardvark comes from a word in the Afrikaan language that translates to “earth pig”. The scientific name for this animal is Orycteropus afer. It is native to Africa and it is easy to see why the native people gave it this name. It looks something like a pig but it digs in the ground for its food.  The teeth stand up straight and do not have any enamel covering. They wear out very easily but as they do so, more teeth grow to take their place. The teeth are the animal’s chief tools for hunting for food.

About the Anteater

Although the Anteater does eat termites and ants, it looks entirely different from an Aardvark. There are four main species of this animal and they are varying sizes. The Northern and Southern Tamandua species are both about four feet in length. The Silky Anteater is the smallest species measuring only fourteen inches in length and the Giant Anteater is the largest at six feet in length. The main hunting tools of the anteater are its claws because it doesn’t have any teeth. It uses the claws to dig up the ant and termite nests that they find.

How the aardvark and the anteater are different

Although they look somewhat similar, the aardvark and the anteater so not have the same anatomical make-up. Aardvarks have claws on their forelimbs and anteaters have claws in their paws. Anteaters are able to grind up the termites and ants that they put in their mouths because they have an attachment on their mouth that looks like a tooth. Aardvarks have teeth, but they do not possess this grinding mechanism. Anteaters are furrier than Aardvarks and there are four species of them but there is only one kind of Aardvark.


Aardvarks have teeth that do not have an enamel covering. The teeth regrow because they wear out very easily in hunting and tearing open the nests where the animals find their food of ants and termites.  Aardvarks have their claws on the forelimbs.

Anteaters do not have teeth, but they do have an attachment that grinds up the ants and termites. They have a lot of fur and they have claws in their paws and they use these to tear open the nests to find food.


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