Wildlife | Animals

A Woman Adopted This Aardvark, Says It's "Just One Of The Dogs" Now

When a truck driver from Namibia found this alien-looking creature leaning against one of his tires, he did everything he could to help it.

After searching for the animal's mother, he found that she had either died or abandoned her baby. With no other choice, the driver loaded the animal into his car and drove it to the Zuri Orphanage, a shelter for orphaned and injured wild animals.

There, veterinarian Erika de Jager adopted the creature herself, and named it Gertie. It turns out Gertie is an aardvark, a shy animal that lives in burrows underground. But after being adopted by Erika - and her 8 pet dogs - Gertie seems convinced that she's a Jack Russell terrier.

After treating Gertie for dehydration and malnutrition, Erika introduced her to Zuri Orphanage's dogs, and she quickly became part of the pack.

Two Jack Russells, Krummel and Zetter, became especially close with the baby aardvark.

"Sometimes dogs have a strong matherly instinct and wil look after babies," Erika told The Dodo.

"I suspect Krummel is like this."

While Gertie may think she's a dog, Erika spoils her like a baby human, even letting this elephant-nosed rat cuddle up in bed with her every night.

Erika tries to rehabilitate the animals at Zuri and release them back into the wild, but that could be difficult with Gertie, who's gotten used to the comforts of life at home.

Instead, Erika plans to build a special "semi-free" pen for the aardvark, so she can burrow and live outside, but still stay close to her adoptive family.

I'll admit that after seeing these adorable photos I'm dying to adopt an aardvark, but I'm worried about how those burrows will make my lawn look!

You can donate to Zuri Orphanage or follow them on Facebook.

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[H/T: The Dodo]