Aardwolf (Proteles cristata)

Common NameProteles cristatus
TypeThe aardwolf primarily inhabits open
Diet grassy plains but can survive almost anywhere which has an average annual rainfall of 100 to 800 millimetres
Size although it does avoid forested areas (7).More >>Species found in a similar habitatCape hare(Lepus capensis)Wolf spider(Pardosa nigriceps)Grey wolf(Canis lupus)
Top SpeedHead-body length: 55 - 80 cm (2)Shoulder height: 48 - 50 cm (2)Tail length: 20 - 30 cm (2)
LifestyleWeight9 - 14 kg (2)
Skin TypeAardwolf biology, The aardwolf is a primarily nocturnal and solitary species. With a home range of one to four square kilometres, it is highly territorial and defines its territory by extensive scent marking (4). Upon encountering other aardwolves, it will raise its mane as a warning sign until recognition has been established. Fights for territory do sometimes occur between aardwolves, and with other species, particularly jackals (4); in these instances the aardwolf may utter a deep-throated growl or roar, despite being generally silent at other times (8). The aardwolf has a highly specialised diet consisting almost exclusively of harvester termites (Trinervitermes species) (9), and is able to tolerate the toxic secretions of the termite soldiers (4). In the summer, as many as 3,000 termites may be consumed each night (4), while in the winter, termites are much scarcer and only around a fifth of this number will be consumed, resulting in a dramatic loss of body mass (9). The aardwolfa™s cheek teeth are little more than flattened pegs and are of little use; instead, it has a long, sticky tongue that is effective at licking termites from the soil surface (4). Unlike the aardvark (Orycteropus afer) which has a similarly specialised diet, the aardwolf lacks large claws to dig up termites so relies solely on this method of feeding (4). Females come into season in late June and often mate within the first two weeks of July. Following a gestation of around 90 days, typically two to four cubs are born within a den, where they remain for the next month. During this time, the male plays a role in caring for the cubs by guarding the den, often from territorial attacks by jackals. Between three and four month of age, the cubs begin to forage throughout the territory with the adults and are weaned at the end of this period. Cubs generally leave the home territory at about a year of age and seldom return (4).
Favourite FoodClassified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).