Aardwolf (Proteles cristatus)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family:    Hyaenidae

Height: 16 to 20 inches (40 to 50 cm) at the shoulder 

Length: 26 to 32 inches (65 to 80 cm)

Weight: 18 to 30 lbs (8 to 14 kg)
Diet: Mainly termites; other insects, carrion, rodents
Distribution: Eastern and southern Africa
Young:  A litter of two to four, once per year
Animal Predators:  Lions, leopards, poisonous snakes and larger hyenas
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: No special terms
Lifespan: Up to 8 years in the wild and 15 years in captivity



·       Aardwolf is an Afrikaans word meaning “earth wolf.”

·       Aardwolves have broad, sticky tongues that enable them to lap up termites.

·       Aardwolves are the smallest and furriest members of the hyena family. 



Aardwolves have yellow-grey fur with black stripes and a bushy, black-tipped tail. Aardwolves have weaker jaws and more fur than hyenas, but they have a similar humped back and low hindquarters. Scientists sometimes place aardwolves in a family of their own, Protelidae, because aardwolves have five toes on their front feet, while hyenas have only four. 



Aardwolves live in burrows, usually those abandoned by other animals. They are rarely seen because they only come out at night. 


Feeding Habits

Aardwolves eat mainly termites—as many as 200,000 in a single night. There are two different species of termites in the aardwolf’s range, and when one species becomes dormant for the winter, aardwolves switch to the other species. 



Females have a gestation period of 90 to 100 days and give birth to two to four cubs, within a burrow. The male and female take turns guarding the cubs and foraging. Both parents feed the young with regurgitated termites after they are weaned. The cubs first see the outside world at about six weeks of age. 



Aardwolves are solitary animals that live either alone or as part of a monogamous pair. When they are threatened, they raise the hair on their backs to appear larger and emit a foul-smelling odour.



There is no conservation concern for this species. 







Aardwolf Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, USA