Aardwolf; Length of head and body: 22-31 inches; tail, 8-12
Weight: 20-31 pounds.
Habitat and Range: open plains and woodlands in southern and eastern
The aardwolf (species Proteles cristatus), African carnivore generally placed
in the family Hyaenidae but separated by some authorities as the family
Protelidae. The aardwolf, whose name in Afrikaans means "earth wolf," resembles
a small striped hyena. It is yellowish with vertical black stripes and a
bushy, black-tipped tail, and it bears a long, coarse mane of erectile hairs
along the length of its back.
The aardwolf lives on the open, grassy plains of southern and
eastern Africa. There are two geographically separate populations, one centered
in South Africa and the other extending from central Tanzania northward to
southern Egypt. The aardwolf feeds largely on termites, particularly on the
species Trinervitermes trinervoides. It is nocturnal, lives in a burrow,
and is usually solitary but may forage in small packs. The litter generally
consists of three or four young. The aardwolf is harmless and shy; when attacked,
as by dogs, it emits a musky-smelling fluid and may fight. Its life span
is fourteen years in captivity.
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