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Aardwolf

Aardwolf.         Proteles cristatus
 
The name aardwolf  translates to earth wolf, as its sloping back puts it into the same family as the hyena, but this animal is totally insectivorous.
 
 
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Termites are its main food source. Using its sticky tongue it can consume up to 200,000 termites per night, sometimes more in the winter months when the land is dry and the need for moisture greater.
 
Aardwolf stand higher at the shoulder, 50 cm, than the rump and, taking in the bushy tail, have a total length of about one metre, and weigh in at about 12 kgs. Its fur is light brown in colour with black stripes running down the body, the tail is mainly black as are the feet and muzzle. It has an erect mane that runs the entire length of the body, which can be raised when threatened to make it look larger.
 
The aardwolf is mainly nocturnal, thought to be solitary, but family groups do stick together. The pups can be born at any time of the year, but mainly autumn and spring. The litter can have up to four pups, weighing just under 500 grams each at birth. This after a gestation period of about 3 months, the pups will be fully independent at 4 months, but will stay around mum until the next mating, and will be sexually mature at 2 years.
 
Aardwolf live in burrows during the day, usually that have been made by other animals such as aardvark. These animals are territorial and mark using two scent glands at their rear, and this scent is also used to communicate with other aardwolf.
 
Its main threats come from inadvertent poisoning by farmers, usually while targeting other predators. Farm dogs also pose a threat, and in some areas the aardwolf is also hunted for its fur.
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It prefers open dry plains and bushland, this is why harvester termites which feed on grass are its main prey species. At present, the aardwolf holds the classification of uncommon but secure.
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