Scientific Name: Proteles cristata
3 feet long and 1.5 feet at the shoulder
Canine in appearance. Fluffy, especially along the neck and tail. Small
legs, a black snout, large eyes and very large bat-like ears.
Status: Least Concern
A lesser-known cousin
of the hyena, aardwolves live through out southern and eastern Africa.
Like hyenas they are more closely related to felines rather than canines.
Unlike hyenas, which are carnivorous, aardwolves are insectivores and
feast almost exclusively on termites. They begin their day late in the
afternoon and well into the night. Aardwolves live in regions of grassland,
scrubland, rocky terrain and partial forest, but not total forest or
desert. They seem to favor regions that receive between100 and 800 mm
of rain per year.
Aardwolves live in fiercely guarded territories of .06 to 2.4 kilometers squared depending on the availability of termites. The can make clucking sounds, deep growls or roars, all of which are usually directed toward predators or intruders. Aardwolves will live in monogamous pairs, however they will often mate with other individuals. Mating occurs in early July and females will give birth to 1-4 cubs between October and December. The cubs will emerge from the den about a month after birth and gradually begin to forage away from the den. Males will protect cubs from predators. The aardwolf's main nemesis is the black- backed jackal (Canis mesomelas).
Aardwolves are strong in numbers and are not in danger of going extinct. However, aardwolves are greatly affected by insecticides that are used on locust swarms. Many aardwolves are also killed each year due to irrational fears that they threaten livestock. Aardwolves are not threats to people or livestock and should be given their space in the wild. Responsibility should be used in pest management so that the least damage possible is dealt to the ecosystem.
Want to know more?
Read up on aardwolves
and their hyena cousins at the Hyena Specialist Group
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