Aardwolf (Proteles Cristata)

Conservation Status

Least Concern (LC)

Physical Description

Slightly larger than a jackal, the aardwolf is the smallest of the hyena family, with long slender legs and a long neck. The sloping back is not as pronounced as in the other hyena species. They have dark stripes on buff-yellow or dark brown fur as well as a thick mane running from the back of the head to the tail.
Weight 8-14 kg
Size 85-105cm head to tail
Lifespan (wild) 18 years
Lifespan (captivity) 20 years


Social and Reproduction

Mainly nocturnal, however during winter will become active before sunset when their main food source, termites, are still active. Generally solitary or in pairs for most of their life.

Mating System Polygamy (Polgyny)
Breeding interval once yearly
Breeding season mid June - mid July
Gestation 90 days
Number of offspring 2-5 cubs

Habitat and Food


Aardwolves use dry grasslands and savannahs to make the best use of their camouflage. They actively avoid habitat that is wet, separating entire populations due to damp climates or wetlands.


Diet consists solely of termites consuming up to 300,000 per night. Very little water is required as most fluid intake is supplied by their termite food source. Have been documented following aardvarks to pick up any termites still available once aardvark ahs moved on from feeding.


Human; are sometimes killed by farmers who mistakenly confuse them for carnivores which might threaten their livestock. Are also vulnerable to mortality from vehicle collisions on roads.
Jackals; pups are vulnerable to black-backed jackals.
Domestic dogs; dogs trained to hunt foxes and jackals will also mistakenly attack aardwolves.

Conservation Challenges

The use of pesticides can reduce or eliminate their food source, termites, which can lead to local extinctions.

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Aardwolf at Naankuse sites