Aardwolf | Unique African Hyena

The aardwolf is a small and thin hyena that lives in the grasslands and scrublands of Eastern and Southern Africa. Unlike other hyenas, aardwolves are insectivores. Instead of scavenging or hunting for large prey, their diet is fulfilled with termites, larvae, and beetles. They may sometimes be seen eating near another animal’s kill but they aren’t actually eating the dead animal, they are eating the bugs nearby.

Aardwolves are nocturnal, although during the winter they may emerge from their dens during the day to eat. Their dens are sometimes abandoned homes of other animals, such as porcupines or aardvarks. Aardwolves have several dens but only one or two are in use at a time. They occupy one or two dens for months at a time before moving on.



A pack of aardwolves usually is just comprised of a mated pair and their offspring. They are territorial and will chase intruders from their home range. Fights do occasionally break out when the intruder doesn’t leave quickly enough or if the defending aardwolf catches them. Fights are more frequent during the mating season. In dire times, such as famine, several families will live in the same territory and form a larger pack.

Baby Aardwolf on GroundAardwolves are monogamous, though males may sometimes mate with more than one female. Pregnancies typically result in two or three cubs born in the late autumn and early winter, although as many as five cubs are possible. They are helpless at birth and will stay in the den for up to the first two months of their lives. The father remains in the den with them while the mother finds food. At three months old, they can forage with supervision. At four months old, they are capable of caring for themselves and no longer need guidance. The young aardwolves will still stay in their parents’ den until the following year when they will leave to find their own territories.


An Adult Aardwolf at Night


Because of how shy they are and their nocturnal lifestyle, aardwolves rarely cross the paths of humans. It is believed, incorrectly, by some that aardwolves cause the death of livestock. Many people who live near to aardwolves understand this is only a myth, fortunately. Their population numbers are stable and they are actually classified as Least Concern for extinction.




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