If fantastic beasts are to be found in the world, why not here, in this indescribably beautiful desert? This short video depicts one of those charmed moments when, undetected, riders watched an Aardvark out foraging in broad daylight. It looks a little like the Niffler in JK Rowlings’ (of Harry Potter fame) new film; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The prehistoric Aardvark is also a long-snouted, burrowing creature – although, unlike the Niffler, it does not have a predilection of shiny things. If you have not seen the movie, do, it is enchanting.
The Aardvark, which means ‘earth-pig’ in Afrikaans, is solitary and generally silent although it grunts softly while foraging. Nocturnal and insectivorous this mammal is sustained entirely on ants and termites which it digs out with its extraordinarily powerful fore claws, lapping them up with its long sticky tongue. Its highly mobile and sensitive snout is much like that of a pig, and it uses both tongue and huge dish-like ears to find prey.