The aardwolf has five toes on its front paws
Aardwolf Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Proteles cristata
Aardwolf Physical Characteristics
Brown, Yellow, Black
15 years
Aardwolf Distribition

“Aardwolves play an advantageous position with inside the surroundings through restricting the quantity of termites all through their herbal range.”

The aardwolf is the lesser-recognised cousin of the striped and noticed hyenas. Because it’s shy, elusive, and nocturnal, it’s hardly ever encountered with the aid of using people.

The call aardwolf basically method earth wolf within side the Afrikaans and Dutch languages, however that is deceptive due to the fact it’s now no longer a wolf at all. Instead, it belongs to the hyena family, a truth which within reason apparent from its look alone. It appears pretty a piece like a striped hyena, whose African habitat overlaps with its own. This article will cowl a few exciting data approximately the identification, diet, habitat, and conduct of the aardwolf.

Aardwolf vs Hyena

As simply mentioned, the aardwolf is a member of the hyena own circle of relatives, and its look is pretty just like a hyena. The primary variations are that the aardwolves are usually smaller in frame size, they stay in smaller companies of the own circle of relatives units, and that they eat bugs as opposed to carrion or large prey

3 Incredible Aardwolf Facts!

  • Aardwolves are notion to be an instance of a “primitive” hyena. This basically way they’ll have developed from a totally early department of the hyena own circle of relatives earlier than the alternative 3 species got here to be. Based on genetic and fossil evidence, they probable diverged from the relaxation of the hyena own circle of relatives sooner or later among 15 and 32 million years ago. It turned into as soon as notion that the aardwolf might not be a hyena at all, however alternatively a carefully associated species mimicking the arrival of the striped hyena to trick capability predators, however this rationalization has fallen out of fashion as scientists have collected extra evidence.
  • Because aardwolves are mainly tailored for ingesting termites, a number of their enamel have developed into blunt pegs, slightly even able to chewing meat. Their effective jaws are used to guard territory instead.
  • An opportunity call for this species is maanhaar-jackal, because of this that mane-jackal in Dutch, although it isn’t carefully associated with jackals at all.

Scientific Name

The scientific name of the aardwolf is Proteles cristata. The genus name Proteles, which basically means “complete in the front” in Greek, refers back to the truth that it has 5 ft at the the front limbs and best 4 at the hind limbs. Cristata comes from a Latin phrase meaning a comb or tuft on the top of an animal (relating to its pricey mane). The aardwolf is the best residing member of its whole genus. Together with the brown hyena, noticed hyena, and striped hyena, it’s far a family member Hyaenidae. It changed into as soon as located in its very own separate family, however that is not taken into consideration to be correct.


The aardwolf is probably by accident wrong for a hyena in case you don’t recognize what key identity markers to appearance for. The maximum distinguished function is the robust darkish stripes in opposition to a backdrop of brown or yellow fur with extra black markings across the ft, tail, and muzzle. It additionally has a thick mane strolling from the top to the tail and massive triangle-formed ears. However, in comparison with maximum hyenas, it additionally has 5 ft at the the front ft in place of four. Most individuals of the species are approximately 3 ft lengthy and weigh among 17 and 31 pounds. This makes them the smallest member of the hyena family. Males and women appearance nearly same in colour and size.

The aardwolf is commonly mistaken as a wolf but it is actually part of the hyena family.



Because in their shy and elusive behavior, there’s nevertheless plenty approximately the aardwolves we don’t but understand. For a protracted time, it became concept that the aardwolf became a solitary creature. But in fact, as we’ve considering the fact that learned, the fundamental unit of the aardwolf’s social existence seems to be the own circle of relatives, which includes a breeding pair and their instantaneously offspring. There is little proof it bureaucracy large packs or agencies for lengthy periods. The breeding pair increases the offspring collectively almost all 12 months lengthy and defends their territory towards out of doors aggressors. They can also additionally create as many as 10 dens, in addition to numerous waste disposal areas, inside their territory. The den is typically composed of a easy hole, crevice, or deserted porcupine or aardvark burrow withinside the floor.

Aardwolves do maximum in their speaking with the heady fragrance markings in their anal gland. This heady fragrance is smeared throughout foliage to mark their territory and appeal to mates. They have a tendency to make only a few sounds until they may be threatened or startled. The most effective exceptions are a few clucking, barking, and roaring sounds. If it’s in direct hazard, then the hairs at the returned of the mane will arise and it is able to emit a foul-smelling substance from the anal gland. The aardwolf may chase the intruder out of its territory, however given the gradual speed, it is able to opt to permit the intruder go. Only while the aardwolf is quicker will it overtake the opposite animal and instigate a fight.

Despite the robust bond among the mating pair, the aardwolf seems to do maximum of its foraging on my own with out the assist of its partner. As a nocturnal animal, it comes out at night time to do maximum of its feeding, after which it retreats to the underground den throughout the daylight to keep away from the withering heat. This conduct can also additionally alternate throughout the iciness months while it comes out for a while withinside the afternoon after which sleeps at night time. There is a few proof to signify that the aardwolf can also additionally percentage a part of its territory or hunt in small agencies while meals is especially scarce. This maximizes their possibilities of locating meals.


The aardwolf prefers to inhabit dry open savannas and grasslands with minimum annual rainfall. It may be determined in separate disconnected places: the jap horn of Africa round Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya, and the southern part of Africa round Angola, Zambia, and South Africa. There is a few debate approximately whether or not those jap and southern populations have to be taken into consideration as totally separate subspecies due to the fact other than their different ranges, they may be in any other case similar.

Predators and Threats

The aardwolf faces few full-size threats withinside the wild due to the fact they commonly hold to themselves and don’t hassle people too regularly. However, on occasion they may be in hazard of falling sufferer to hunting, motor accidents, and habitat loss from encroaching human habitats.

What Eats the Aardwolf?

Adult aardwolves have few critical predators withinside the wild, however the aardwolf doggy is prone to jackals, lions, leopards, and different hyenas. Hunting puppies can even on occasion assault and kill the aardwolf.

What Does the Aardwolf Eat?

Aardwolves can also additionally appear like fearsome predators, however their food regimen is composed nearly entirely of termites. After finding the termite mounts thru heady fragrance and sound, the aardwolf will dig up the quarry with its sharp claws. It will then lick the termites proper off the floor with their lengthy sticky tongue. It’s anticipated that a unmarried person can devour round 300,000 termites each unmarried night time. The termites additionally deliver them with maximum of the water they want of their in any other case dry and arid habitats. Aardwolves are resistant to the pollutants that those termites produce to forestall different predators from consuming them. If termites aren’t available, then they could devour beetles and different bugs. Contrary to expectation, they do now no longer seem to scavenge for carrion in any respect like different hyenas, butt they could devour bugs proper off a lifeless body.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

The aardwolf’s mating season can conceivably take location at any time of the 12 months, however relying on wherein it lives, breeding regularly peaks withinside the wet months. To appeal to a ability mate, each men and women will secrete a smelly heady fragrance from the anal gland. If the woman accepts what the male has to offer, then they’ll shape pair bonds collectively and convey a unmarried clutter in keeping with 12 months. However, the maximum competitive men can also additionally intervene on any other territory and copulate with the mate of a weaker male as well.

After a gestation duration lasting about ninety days, the mom will deliver start to a clutter of to 5 doggies with their eyes open however in any other case helpless. They will stay secure and guarded withinside the underground den, feeding at the mom’s milk for the primary 3 to 4 months in their lives. The father has the obligation of guarding the den, at the same time as the mom will make foraging journeys out of doors. When the offspring are completely weaned, every doggy might be fed regurgitated termites till they’re vintage sufficient to seek on their own.

These foraging journeys emerge as gradually bolder and further from the den with every passing month. The aardwolf doggy will maintain to research and develop below the supervision of the mother and father for the primary 12 months. After that, they go away the own circle of relatives to stake out their territory. Most aardwolves attain complete sexual adulthood at round 1.five to 2 years of age. The lifespan of the aardwolf isn’t precisely recognised, however different carefully associated hyena species can stay approximately 15 years or greater withinside the wild.


Aardwolves are taken into consideration to be a species of least issue via way of means of the IUCN Red List. This approach numbers are healthful and that they require no unique conservation efforts. It isn’t always recognised what number of aardwolves stay during their whole range, in element due to the fact their elusive and nocturnal conduct makes it difficult to estimate. Based at the aardwolf’s conduct, however, we realize that populace densities are pretty low. A unmarried breeding pair can occupy territory as big as 1 to four rectangular kilometers (0.four to 1.five rectangular miles). The male will guard his territory each inside and outside of the breeding season.


  1. Britannica, Available here: https://www.britannica.com/animal/aardwolf
  2. Animal Diversity Web, Available here: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Proteles_cristata/

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