An aardwolf is a small mammal found in the southern and eastern parts of the African continent. Aardwolves are close in appearance to striped hyenas and they belong to the same family as the hyenas. They live in male-female pairs with a designated territory and spend their days resting in burrows. Aardwolves are nocturnal animals, which means that they rest in the daytime and set out to search for their their food at night. Let’s find out more about the diet of the aardwolf.
What do aardwolves eat?
Unlike other members of the hyena family, the aardwolf does not hunt large animals or eat meat. Instead the diet of the aardwolf is mostly made up of termites and insect larvae. They mostly feed on a small group of termites known as Trinervitermes. Aardwolves feed alone and they track termites by sound and also by following the scent left behind by soldier termites. Once they have found the termites they catch them with their sticky tongue and lick them off the ground. They will eat up to 250,000 termites in one night, but they never destroy an entire colony. They do this so that the colony will rebuild and the aardwolf remembers the location of the nests to return later and feed again. During periods of food scarcity the aardwolves have been known to eat other types of termites, insects, eggs and even small animals or birds (this is very uncommon). They are sometimes seen with animal carcasses, but they do not feed on these, instead they are eating the insects attracted to the carcass!
Did you know?
While searching for food an aardwolf can cover as much as 1 km (0.62 miles) every hour and they can cover up to 12 km (7.5 miles) in a single night!
Aardwolves are sometimes hunted by farmers because they mistake them for animals that prey of livestock. However, they are helpful to farmers because they eat termites!