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Common Name: Aardwolf Scientific Name: Proteles cristatus

LOWER RISK Aardwolf Distribution: Africa

Habitat: Desert and Scrub Height: Approx. 1m

The Aardwolf has a light brown coat that has a orange tint to it. Their fur is quite long and coarse. The tail is long and bushy and becomes erect when the Aardwolf is frightened. The Aardwolf has large ears which are important in locating its prey, as well as helping it lose heat. The Aardwolf has a humped back and lower hind quarters. Aardwolf are found in desert and scrub lands. Aardwolf are not endangered but they are facing habitat destruction and people shoot them believing then to be a livestock pest. In reality they are small, shy creatures, that eat termites. The Aardwolf eats harvester termites which it licks up with its sticky tongue. The excellent hearing enables the Aardwolf to locate termites. Having nonretractable claws means it can dig for termites with ease. One Aardwolf can eat 300 000 termites each night. The Aardwolf also eats insect larvae and occasionally eggs. Having a specialised termite diet means that it has blunt teeth which are ideal for crushing the termites.

Weight: 8kg - 10kg

The Aardwolf is nocturnal and spends the day in old Aardwark burrows. There are two distinct populations of Aardwolf. The southern population is found in Nambia, Botswana and may expand into Angola and Zambia. The Northern population is in east Africa in Kenya and Ethiopia.

Diet: Carnivorous Mainly insects.

Aardwolf are mature at 2 years of age and mating occurs throughout the year. The gestation period is 90 – 100 days and the females give birth to between 1 and 6 young. When they are born, the young are blind and helpless. They remain in the burrow for up to 8 weeks before coming to the surface. They learn to forage with their mother for a short while before becoming independent. Both parents help with rearing the youngsters. Generally, Aardwolf lead a solitary life but when they have young, several females may live together. There is no hunting benefit to this social living as they are not pack animals. Aardwolf are territorial and mark their territory using a fluid emitted from their anal glands.

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