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Temporal range: PleistoceneRecent
An aardwolf in Namib-Nord, Namibia
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Hyaenidae
Subfamily: Protelinae
Genus: Proteles
P. cristata
Binomial name
Proteles cristata
Sparrman, 1783
Aardwolf range

The aardwolf (Proteles cristata) is a small, insectivorous mammal, native to East Africa and Southern Africa. Its name means "earth wolf" in the Afrikaans / Dutch language. It is also called "maanhaar jackal" in Afrikaans,[2] or civet hyena, based on the secretions (civet) from their anal glands.[3]

The aardwolf is in the same family as the hyenas. Unlike many of its relatives in the order Carnivora, the aardwolf does not hunt large animals, or even eat meat on a regular basis; instead it eats insects, mainly termites – one aardwolf can eat about 250,000 termites during a single night by using its long, sticky tongue to capture them.[4][5]

The aardwolf lives in the scrublands of eastern and southern Africa – these are open lands covered with stunted trees and shrubs. The aardwolf is nocturnal, resting in burrows during the day and coming out at night to eat.

Anal gland scent-marking plays an important role in mating-season in both sexes as it is the primarily communication method.[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. Green, D.S. (2015). "Proteles cristata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2015: e.T18372A45195681. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T18372A45195681.en. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  2. Oxford English Dictionary Online
  3. Rieger, Ingo 1990. Hyenas. In Parker, Sybil P. (ed) Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals, vol 3. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. ISBN 0-07-909508-9
  4. Mills, Gus & Harvey, Martin 2001. African predators. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, p71. ISBN 1-56098-096-6
  5. Anon 1998. Wildlife Fact File, Group 1. IMP Publishing, card 144. ISBN 978-1886614772
  6. Stoeckelhuber, Mechthild; Sliwa, Alexander; Welsch, Ulrich (2000). "Histo-physiology of the scent-marking glands of the penile pad, anal pouch, and the forefoot in the aardwolf (Proteles cristatus)". The Anatomical Record. 259 (3): 312–326. doi:10.1002/1097-0185(20000701)259:3<312::AID-AR80>3.0.CO;2-X. ISSN 1097-0185. PMID 10861364. S2CID 9250632.