Image Credit: FactZoo.com

 

 

Common Name: Aardwolf

Scientific Name: Proteles cristatus

Distribution of Habitat:

There are two distinct ranges for the Aardwolf, the first is a region that involves South Africa, Zambia and Botswana. The second region of the Aardwolf consists of the East African countries: Ethiopia, Central Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution of Habitat:

There are two distinct ranges for the Aardwolf, the first is a region that involves South Africa, Zambia and Botswana. The second region of the Aardwolf consists of the East African countries: Ethiopia, Central Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia.


Physiology:

Aardwolves are the smallest member of the Hyaenidae family, weighing in at 8-10 kg. They are not part of the bone-crushing hyena group, but rather a kissing cousin. Aardwolves branched off from the bone-crushing hyena group some time ago, but the aardwolf is all that remains of this unique member of the hyena family. The skull shape and purpose of an aardwolf is different to its larger cousins. The skull of the aardwolf is developed for tracking and eating termites. The orbital sockets of the aardwolf are much larger in proportion to other hyena species. The sagittal crest is dramatically smaller and there are no molars, just a series of pre-molars.


Aardwolves have the most limited vocal range of the hyena family. There are no long-distant calls. They only have a range of different types of growls. All other communication is done through body language and scent marking.

Diet:

Arrdwolves diet consists of termites. In South Africa where termites go dormant for the winter, an aardwolf can lose up to 20% of its bodyweight during this fasting period.
Do they hunt? Termites only.

Social:

Aardwolfs are social depending on individuals. Some aardwolves choose to mate for life, some females raise their cubs signally. There is no social group like the brown and spotted hyenas though.

Aardwolves are decently territorial, and like to maintain a territory with defecation and urination as designated midden points.

Reproduction:

Because their diet is dependent on a creature that hibernates for the winter, aardwolves that live in South Africa have a breeding season. Mating occurs in July. The female is in estrus for 1-3 days and cubs are born in October. Gestation is ~91 days with the litter sizes being 1-4 cubs. Aardwolves that live in East Africa have a much less restricted breeding season due to the warmer winters, and can mate and give birth year round. While the male may mate with other females in nearby territories, he chooses to help rear cubs for one female.

Females who have male partner (some will have the same partner for life) a 300% increase in raising cubs than females who raise cubs in solitude. The male guards the den while the female nurses the cubs. Because aardwolves only eat termites, cubs wean very soon, at 3 months of age. Weaned cubs follow their parents to termite mounds for a couple of months until they leave the den at 5 months. Cubs will remain in their parents’ territory until they are fully matured, but will live independently.

Mortality

The largest threat to the aardwolf is man. Termite poisons indirectly poison the aardwolves who eat the treated mounds. Aardwolves are also frequently killed by cars at night. Jackals pose the greatest threat to cub mortality as jackals will kill and eat aardwolf cubs.

 

Hyena Species

Spotted

Striped

Brown

Aardwolf

   
   
   
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