Meet Nature's Most Adorable, Best Kept Secret: The Aardwolf

November 28th, 2017

Meet the aardwolf: an adorable an animal that few people know about.

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Wagon16 via Flickr Source: Wagon16 via Flickr

These cute creatures live in the scrublands of Southern and Eastern Africa. Aardwolves typically grow to be about the size of a fox, and they have distinctive black stripes around their chest and on their legs. They also have tufts of fur on their back that stand up like a mohawk. They’re related to hyenas, but unlike their carnivorous cousins, aardwolves prefer to get their food from below the ground.

Aardwolves love termites, and they can eat up to 300,000 of them in a night!

When they’re eating the termites, they’re careful not to completely destroy the termite mound. Once they finish eating, they’ll memorize where the mound is. Then, they’ll return to it once the termites have rebuilt. They lick up the termites using their long tongues.

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Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr Source: Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr

Aardwolves are mostly nocturnal, and they’re shy creatures who don’t often interact with other animals. They sleep in burrows, but they don’t usually dig the burrows themselves. Typically, they’ll find an uninhabited burrow made by another animal and settle in there.

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Ltshears via Wikimedia Source: Ltshears via Wikimedia

Scientists used to think that aardwolves were solitary creatures, but they’ve recently learned that they’re actually very family-oriented. Aardwolves are monogamous, and they’ll stay with the same mate for their entire life. The female aardwolves often give birth to one to five cubs during the rainy season.

If you think adult aardwolves are cute, wait until you see the baby aardwolves!

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Ohange Lodge Namibia Source: Ohange Lodge Namibia

For the first six to eight weeks of their life, the baby aardwolves stay in the den with their mom. When they’re about three months old, they’ll begin foraging under the supervision of their parents. When they’re four months old, they’re considered independent, but they’ll typically stay in the den with their parents until the next breeding season. Then, they’ll go off on their own, and they usually won’t return to their old den.

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Arkive Source: Arkive

When they want to intimidate predators, aardvarks will howl loudly and bark. But when they’re just communicating with other aardvarks, they make softer noises called chirps.

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Animal-Safaris Source: Animal-Safaris

The next time you want to impress your friends with your knowledge of animal trivia, tell them about the aardwolf. The aardwolf is a fascinating creature with unique habits and an adorable appearance!

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h/t: Bored Panda, New World Encyclopedia