When a truck driver in Namibia was preparing to start his shift, he examined the tires like he always does before leaving. This time, though, there was an unwelcome guest curled around one of the tyres. It was a baby aardvark, a nocturnal South African mammal.
The first thought that came to the driver’s mind was to look for the young one’s mother, but she was nowhere to be found. Assuming he was alone, the truck diver decided to assist the tiny aardvark by carefully removing him and placing him inside the truck. They summoned Dr. Erika de Jager, a local veterinarian who also manages ZURI Orphanage, a small rehabilitation center for orphaned animals, after they arrived at the truck company’s headquarters.
Dr. Erika was delighted to welcome the tiny aardvark into her home and provide him with the love and care he required. The woman told The Dodo, “It was love at first sight for me.”
Despite the fact that E.T., as she called him, was the first aardvark she had to care for, Dr. Erika was convinced that everything would be great and that the poor little animal would survive. “We had to try a number of different teats,” she explained. “We then began feeding him foreign milk, and he began to gain weight almost immediately.”
The roughly three-month-old aardvark began interacting with the orphanage’s two rescue dogs, Spokie and Zarah, as soon as he arrived. And Dr. Erika couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw how quickly they became friends. Socializing with other animals was just what E.T. required to heal emotionally.
“The dogs were curious about him and reacted as if he were another puppy,” Dr. Erika explained. “At the orphanage, they’re used to young animals like goats and warthogs, so it was nothing out of the ordinary for them.” They simply interacted with him as if he were one of them. He slept like a baby with the dogs and in their beds. ET probably had no idea he was an aardvark. I believe he mistook him for a dog!”
E.T. made a full recovery after five months at the clinic and was strong enough to be released back into the wild, where he belongs. He does, however, return to see his adoptive mother and old pals, according to Dr. Erika.