TWO aardvarks have been causing trouble at Longleat Safari Park as they demolished an ornate sand castle sculpture.

Sisters Frankie and Nacho made short work of the masterpiece which was made in an attempt to distract them from excavating huge amounts of sand from their new enclosure.

Staff have had to use shovels to dig out the entrance to the sisters' indoor area on numerous occasions, and so hoped the team of professionals from the Weston Sand Sculpture Festival could help put a stop to this.

Senior keeper, Catriona Carr said: "It’s been something of an uphill struggle ever since the sisters arrived as a single aardvark can dig a hole quicker than a team of six workmen with shovels.

“We’d hoped the castle would capture their attention, give them some additional environmental enrichment and provide us with some temporary respite.

“We buried some of their favourite treats including mealworms and bugs within the castle so we were expecting they wouldn’t hang about. It took them a few minutes of sniffing around the castle to work out what the large pile of sand was but before too long they were climbing all over it.

“I think the beach sculptors were also a little taken aback as they’re used to their artworks surviving at least until the next tide comes in."

Originally from Sub-Saharan Africa, aardvarks are renowned for their tunnelling abilities and are capable of digging through a metre of soil in 25 seconds.

The two-metre-long mammals have specially adapted, spade like claws on their front legs which allow them to dig out up to 50,000 bugs in a single evening.

Once Frankie and Nacho are fully mature Longleat is hoping to introduce a male in a bid to set up a captive breeding programme for the species whose natural habitat is under increasing threat from humans.